Kevin Sinfield admits he owes new England role to best mate Rob Burrow

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England rugby union defence coach Kevin Sinfield says that he was owes his new England role to inspiration friend Rob Burrow (Image: PA)
England rugby union defence coach Kevin Sinfield says that he was owes his new England role to inspiration friend Rob Burrow (Image: PA)

Kevin Sinfield has admitted that he owes his new England rugby union defence coach role to inspirational friend and former team-mate Rob Burrow.

The Leeds Rhinos rugby league legend started work on England head coach Steve Borthwick ’s team this week. At gatherings in Liverpool on Monday and Gloucester yesterday Sinfield introduced himself to players coming to terms with life after Eddie Jones.

Since Burrow’s diagnosis for Motor Neurone Disease in December 2019 Sinfield has single-handedly raised more than £2million to fund research into a cure for the disease. Sinfield has revealed that Burrow has inspired him to take different paths in his career.

“Rob's inspired me in so many different ways and it’s probably a large reason why I'm here today,” said the 42-year old. “Without that horrible news I'm not quite sure I would have come down this path.”

The former Leeds and Great Britain rugby league star added: “As soon as I finished the first [fund-raising] challenge I knew I had to do something different with my life. Rob's faced with this horrific disease and I realised I needed to take some risk and I needed to find more challenge in my life.

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“Very quickly, I knew I needed to go and do something else. The opportunity at Leicester (defence coach) presented itself. I didn't have any idea at that stage I'd find myself here in 15-16 months' time.

“If you'd have told me, I'd have to pinch myself. It's been an unbelievable journey.”

Kevin Sinfield admits he owes new England role to best mate Rob BurrowEngland rugby union defence coach Kevin Sinfield (R) has admitted that he was inspired to take a new career path by former Leeds Rhinos team-mate and friend Rob Burrow (Getty Images)

England were beaten 27-13 by South Africa in November, which came on the back of home defeats to New Zealand and Argentina.

Asked how much of a repair job is needed on player morale following a year in which England lost more games than they won? Sinfield shook his head.

“If we’d have come in these last two days and seen players who looked disinterested, didn’t have a spark in their eye and didn’t have an excitement about being here we may have had to change our approach,” he added. “But we haven’t.”

Kevin Sinfield admits he owes new England role to best mate Rob BurrowKevin Sinfield OBE has started his new role as England's rugby union defence coach (Getty Images)

Sinfield owes his rugby union fast-tracking in no small part to new England head coach Borthwick, who brought him across first to Leicester and now Twickenham.

He considers him “as good a coach as I’ve ever come across”. Borthwick's coaching team have exactly a month until Scotland come south to kick off the Six Nations against their England side.

Will the new England coaching set-up turn their fortunes around? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section

Kevin Sinfield admits he owes new England role to best mate Rob BurrowSteve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield helped Leicester Tigers to the Gallagher Premiership last year (Getty Images)

“The bit you don't see with Steve is how much he cares,” said Sinfield. “During my last challenge, which was seven ultras, I got a text off five people every single night.

"My wife, my two boys, Rob Burrow and Steve. Steve was right behind everything we were trying to do. He cares as much as anybody I've been around.”

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