RUGBY : Leeds loose forward Kevin Sinfield is determined to repay the England coaching staff for giving him the chance to take his club form on to the international stage.
Leeds loose forward Kevin Sinfield is determined to repay the England coaching staff for giving him the chance to take his club form on to the international stage.
As the Rhinos captain prepares for Saturday’s do-or-die Gillette Four Nations clash with New Zealand at Huddersfield, Sinfield gives the credit for his international resurgence to former Leeds coach Tony Smith and his assistant Steve McNamara.
“I didn’t play in the mid-season Test and I didn’t know if the World Cup was the end for me,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was delighted to get a shot and even more delighted to be asked to play the way I want to play. Instead of trying to change what I do and make me into something that I’m not, Tony and Steve Mac have put some faith in me this time.”
He added: “This is the first series I’ve been involved in where I’ve felt I have played like the coach wants me to play.
“A lot of the time we have tried to copy how Australians and New Zealanders play but I’m not a typical NRL player, I’m a Super League loose forward and that’s a little bit different.
“(Smith and McNamara) said ‘go do what you do for Leeds’, which has been fantastic. I’m not a 16 stone guy who can punch holes in people.”
Sinfield, one of a handful of survivors from the World Cup, says the introduction of a crop of youngsters has created a buzz around the England camp which he hopes will carry them to victory over the Kiwis at the Galpharm Stadium.
“To have some young guys around who have got some real special qualities around broken play has been great,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed the camp this time. The spirit and culture is probably the best I’ve been involved with.
“Before we played the first game, I could tell the mixture in the squad was very good.”