Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s delight at being made MBE in New Year Honours

Jamie Jones-Buchanan says he was “blown away” to receive an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours list.

The Leeds Rhinos legend did it all in a 20-year career with his hometown club, making over 400 appearances and winning seven Super League titles, a Challenge Cup, three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders’ Shields.

Jones-Buchanan was also capped by England and Great Britain before retiring in 2019 and taking a place on the Rhinos’ coaching staff.

He revealed that he had just arrived for another ordinary day at Leeds’ base, Kirkstall Training Ground, when he found out he would be on the honours list for services to Rugby League and the community in Leeds.

Jones-Buchanan said: “Just as I was sitting down, our new HR manager walked in and said ‘Jonesy, I’ve got a letter for you.’

“It was from Her Majesty’s service and looked pretty formal. When lads from Bramley get letters like that, it’s usually not good news!

“But I opened it and quickly saw it was an invitation to accept an MBE. I was blown away.

“It’s a massive honour, I’m really proud,” he added. “That day I was really fuzzy and warm and I have been ever since.”

Jones-Buchanan joins former Leeds team-mates Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow in receiving honours after having been part of a star-studded generation.

However, he is equally respected for the work done over the years for the community in Leeds and across Rugby League, including his current roles with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and the Leeds 2023 Year of Culture.

“We all get a sense of belonging when we’re giving back,” said Jones-Buchanan.

“I can’t pay back to the people who helped me on that journey but I can pay it forward to the next generation of people and help others to be as good as they can be.

“I find myself with a lot of opportunities to inspire young people and other individuals, to try and create opportunity for people who might be born into poverty or other circumstances and through no fault of their own never get that chance to be as good as they possibly can be.

“To be able to do that and give somebody a chance to find their place in society only supports everybody else exponentially.”

Jones-Buchanan remains involved with the Rhinos by coaching under Richard Agar and does not rule out being head coach of the club one day.

“I’ve been doing a level four apprenticeship in sport, and that’s (involved) mingling with coaches in all kinds of other sports.

“My desire is to be a leader, and my big passion is human performance. The lens through which that manifests at the minute is as an assistant coach with the first team of Leeds Rhinos, and I want us to get back to winning trophies and having that run of success we’ve enjoyed in the past.

“Does that mean I want to be a head coach one day? Potentially. That might manifest itself. I would definitely not rule that out.”

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