Kevin Sinfield returns to Leeds Rhinos as Director of Rugby

Josh McAllister

Leeds Rhinos have announced that Kevin Sinfield MBE will return to the side as the club’s first ever Director of Rugby with immediate effect, with James Lowes appointed as first-team coach.

Former coach Brian McDermott was earlier sacked this week by the Rhinos, ending his status as Super League’s longest serving coach. He won four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge in his eight-year stint at the Yorkshire-based side.

Sinfield retired from rugby league at the end of the 2015 season and took a role at the Rugby Football League in 2016 as Rugby Director.

The former Leeds Rhinos and England skipper is out of contract with the RFL at the end of the current season.

He will re-join his former club as the first ever Director of Rugby at Leeds, a similar job that Jamie Peacock took at Hull KR.

Former Leeds Rhinos assistant and ex-Bradford Bulls coach, Lowes has been named as the club’s new coach on a full-time basis.

On the appointments, club’s CEO Gary Hetherington told the club’s official website: “Our challenge at the start of the week was to address the short term problem for the rest of the season and also ideally strengthen our structure for the future.

“There were three key areas that were under scrutiny: our senior management structure with myself as Chief Executive for the past 22 years working alongside the head coach on player retention and recruitment, our coaching team with regards our performances, and our players. The appointments today reflect change in two of those three areas.”

Sinfield added: “We have a group of extremely talented players here at the Rhinos but we find ourselves in a hard position at present. However, I know there is a mental toughness within this group to show what they can do. We have four games remaining in the regular season and all the coaching staff will be doing everything possible to make sure we finish the season in the best possible fashion.

“I am looking forward to working with James Lowes again. Jimmy is an excellent coach and one of the most forward thinking coaches in the game and someone who knows this group of players well.”