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Legend Sinfield is shining a light for rugby league

By Steven Beacom

Published 18/12/2015

On tee: Kevin Sinfield has been a star performer for Leeds Rhinos and
has earned a SPOTY nomination
On tee: Kevin Sinfield has been a star performer for Leeds Rhinos and has earned a SPOTY nomination

Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield is relishing his first visit to Belfast on Sunday for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Even more than that, he is savouring the prospect of representing rugby league on such a grand stage, alongside the other 11 nominees for the top prize.

Sinfield is actually a rugby union player these days with Yorkshire Carnegie, but it is for his brilliance as a rugby league star with Leeds Rhinos that he has been shortlisted. The 35-year-old from Oldham is the first rugby league star ever to receive a SPOTY nomination.

It came on the back of a stunning season with Sinfield skippering Leeds to the domestic treble of League Leaders' Shield, Challenge Cup and Grand Final.

Winning the Grand Final was the dream way to end a stellar rugby league career with the Rhinos which began when he signed as a 16-year-old in 1997.

Speak to Sinfield and you can tell he is a solid character as well as a classy performer - the type of bloke you would want on your side. It is also clear just how much he loves rugby league.

"The sport has given me everything," he says.

"I have been playing rugby league since I was a young boy and it has made me the person I am today. It is a fantastic sport and provides you with great values.

"I have made great friends through the years in rugby league and I am honoured to represent the sport on Sunday night.

"It will be my first visit to Belfast and I'm really looking forward to it and if I can promote rugby league in any way I can when I'm there, that's what I'll do.

"I am enjoying my time in rugby union but I'll always be a representative of rugby league."

When asked about being alongside Tyson Fury on the shortlist and the world champion boxer's controversial comments, Sinfield said: "I don't share his views, but he is on the list for his sporting achievements and now it is up to the public to vote," said Sinfield.

Kevin Sinfield is nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015. Live from Belfast on BBC One, 18.50pm, Sunday December 20.

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