‘I’ll really miss him’ – Richard Agar’s glowing praise for departing Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar has revealed the club are currently working through how the roles and responsibilities of departing legend Kevin Sinfield will be filled.

The former Rhinos skipper will leave his job as director of rugby at Headingley after Sunday’s visit of play-off rivals Warrington Wolves.

Sinfield has been in position since returning to the club following the dismissal of Brian McDermott in July 2018 but will now cross codes and join Leicester Tigers as a defence coach.

He admitted he was not enjoying the job and it remains to be seen whether or not he will be directly replaced – but Sinfield’s exit could prompt a restructure of sorts.

“We’re working through that,” said Agar.

“As a director of rugby, you get more of a holistic overview of things but there are different parts and elements to it.

“In terms of recruiting, and where we are right now, we’re not too far away for next year.

“We’ve got bits of retention to do, but we sort of know where they are and most of that, apart from our retention, is already in place.

“I think where the academy is concerned and the development side of the club, I’m happy to get a bit more involved in that too.

“It’s a real passion of mine and I also think it’s the biggest and best way forward for our club.

“Gary (Hetherington) is a vastly-experienced operator and, with Jason Davidson and Chris Gibson, we’ve got two long-term dyed-in the-wool Leeds people who can also pick bits up.

“Whether that is how it looks for next year, we will have to wait and see.

“And that’s not because we have got a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C.

“We just need to get through until the end of this year and then we will reassess it all.

“What you don’t want too much is a head coach being pulled away from the role of head coach because he’s got his fingers in too many pies.

“There are different ways around it and it’s fair to say we are looking at that now as to what’s the best model moving forward.

“Some of that could be dictated by the people who are available and the people who you can utilise already within your organisation.

“We think we’ve got the backbone of a squad which can carry us forward over the next two or three years, along with some quality additions too.”

Sinfield is Leeds’ most successful captain ever after skippering the club to seven Super League titles.

His legacy will endure, according to Agar, who added: “Kevin’s contribution to the club as a whole spans back decades, before I arrived.

“From an outside observer, and as an opposition coach, the amount of respect I’ve had for Kevin, and throughout the game with teams I’ve coached, has been enormous.

“He’s such a wonderful professional and a great leader.

“His achievements speak for themselves and I’m really surprised – and I always felt this at the time when he was playing – that he was never talked about as a Man of Steel candidate too often, given the domestic success that he had.

“I think I’ve had a superb working relationship with him and we’ve actually come through some really difficult times to try and get things sorted out and rebuild, if you like.

“We’re very different characters and I think that has helped us both.

“He’s never been afraid to tell me the truth and he’s always been a terrific sounding board – a deep thinker who talks common sense.

“We’ve always been in a position where, if we do disagree, we generally come out of it really well aligned.

“We can always find a way to be on the same page. I’ll really miss him and I think we’ll miss him as a club.

“I understand his reasons for taking the new venture but he’s a guy who I’m sure I will continue to be in contact with over day-to-day and bigger picture stuff but also on a personal level.”

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