Kyle Eastmond: Leeds Rhinos’ dual code international retires from professional rugby

Kyle Eastmond's two Leeds Rhinos appearances this season came in their defeats by Wigan and Hull KR
Kyle Eastmond’s two Leeds Rhinos appearances this season came in their defeats by Wigan and Hull KR

Dual code international Kyle Eastmond has announced his retirement from professional rugby just five games into the 2021 Super League season.

The 31-year-old only returned to rugby league with Leeds Rhinos in March after nine years playing rugby union with Bath, Wasps and Leicester.

He made two appearances for Leeds prior to his decision to retire.

“I’ve come to realise the passion to influence the game is no longer on the field,” Eastmond said.

“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.”

‘Incredibly brave decision’

Eastmond began his league career with St Helens in 2007 – winning four caps for England – before switching codes to join Bath in October 2011.

He won six England union caps while with Bath, starting five Tests including three against New Zealand, and scored one try, on his first start against Argentina.

Eastmond later joined Wasps in 2016 and then Leicester in 2018, until he was released last year.

Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “I think this is an incredibly brave decision by Kyle.

“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.”

BBC News