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Jon Wilkin links Leeds Rhinos legend to Sporting Director role

Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos are set for their most significant off-field restructuring in recent years, as the club will recruit a new Sporting Director. The Rhinos are inviting applicants for the role, which will sit across all aspects of the club’s Rugby operation.

The restructuring is set across the backdrop of the club’s men’s team currently struggling on the field. Head Coach, Rohan Smith, is under significant pressure, following a run of poor performances and bad results. Vocal sections of the Rhinos’ crowd turning against him in the recent Super League defeat against St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The move will see current Chief Executive, Gary Hetherington, increase his focus on the club’s commercial activities, reducing his involvement in the day-to-day performance of the Rugby department.

Now, Sky Sports pundit, Jon Wilkin, has sparked talk that a Rhinos club legend could be set to return to the club.

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Wilkin links Leeds Rhinos legend to role

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Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Verdict, pundit Jon Wilkin gave his opinion of the new Rhinos’ Sporting Director role. He believes finding the right person is essential in modern Rugby League, when the role of head coach can be a transient one.

“It’s sometimes strange when you’ve got a person who’s really transient in a position of control over different facets of your business. So for me a director of rugby sort of role at rugby league clubs makes sense. Somebody who’s continually there throughout a coach’s tenure and looks at recruiting new coaches when a coach gets sacked is a consistent part of the club. Now that’s been Gary Hedrington at Leeds for such along time.

He was looking to offload that you know for some time now. He was grooming Kevin Sinfield to come in and do that job to lead jump ship to Rugby Union. So it’d be interesting to see what this this this job spec that they put out to see what sort of applications that they get in

“I wouldn’t be surprised Jenna Brooks if there was a Sir Kevin Sinfield as one of those applications. I’m starting that rumour right here.”

Could Sinfield be set for Rhinos return?

Leeds Rhinos CEO joined The Bench podcast.

Credit: Imago Images

Wilkin’s colleague, Jenna Brooks, was quick to pour cold water on the suggestion, affirming that it was just a rumour at this stage. However, it may be a move that works for all parties.

Hetherington and Sinfield have a long history together, during both Sinfield’s playing career and his post-rugby career. Sinfield previously held a similar role at Leeds, however, he left the club during the COVID crisis, to take up a coaching role with the Leicester Tigers.

Sinfield was part of the England Rugby Union coaching set-up during the last World Cup, after his head coach at Leicester, Steve Borthwick, was appointed England Head Coach. It was announced that Sinfield would leave his role with the England side following their summer tour of Japan. He is yet to announce what his next role in rugby will be.

He recently announced that he would undertake another gruelling challenge to help raise funds for causes which fight Motor Neurone Disease, in honour of former team-mate, Rob Burrow.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jaybs

    May 30, 2024 at 9:34 am

    Sir Kevin, would be Ideal! but is it a back step after his success in Rugby Union, it has to be the right person, Leeds must get this Right!

    What is more concern for me, is an old man running the club, even if in a new commercial role, has his ideas become stale, and the club the same, the role needs someone much younger, and with a major successful business career behind them, you can stay too long in any business even sport, I did 21 years, and it upset me leaving, but I now see it was Best. He should stand down now, and relax more!

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