Kyle Eastmond announces retirement after just two Leeds appearances

James Gordon

Eastmond made two appearances for Leeds before announcing his retirement

Recent Leeds signing Kyle Eastmond has announced his shock retirement from professional rugby.

Eastmond, 31, only returned to rugby league back in March after 10 years in rugby union with Bath, Wasps, Leicester and England.

The former St Helens back made his Leeds debut against Wigan last month, one of only two appearances he made for the Rhinos.

Leeds’  Director of Rugby, Kevin Sinfield, said, “I think this is an incredibly brave decision by Kyle and a testament to the high standards that he sets for himself.

“When we originally spoke to him, we had belief in his ability and talent and that remains the case however after a year out of rugby due to the pandemic, he has found that he is unable to reach the standards he expects of himself in training and playing.

“He will leave the club with our best wishes for the future. The fact he had a contract for this year and next but decided to hang up his boots speaks volumes about his integrity.”

Eastmond previously made 74 appearances for Saints after making his debut in 2007, and won four England caps in rugby league – before winning six international caps in the 15-man code.

His return to rugby league was met with some fanfare ahead of the new Super League season, particularly as he had often been speculated in making a return over the past five years.

Eastmond said: “I love rugby and will always be involved in it. I’ve come to realise the passion to influence the game is no longer on the field. It is this love and respect for the game, that leads me to this decision.

“I would like to say thank you so much to Kevin Sinfield, Leeds Rhinos and all the fans and wish the team all the best for the rest of the season.”

Leeds have been struggling in the halves this season with injuries to first choice pair Robert Lui and Luke Gale, while Richie Myler has also spent time on the sidelines as well as deputising at full-back in place of the injured Jack Walker.

The Rhinos snapped a five-game losing run with a dramatic extra time victory over Wakefield on Friday night.