Kevin Sinfield will leave the Leeds Rhinos at the end of the 2015 season in order to move to rugby union and join sister-club Yorkshire Carnegie, it has been announced.
34-year-old Sinfield, who captained England during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, has been with the Rhinos since making his professional debut in 1996, and is the only player left in the game who has played in every season of the Super League since its formation that year.
Leeds Rhinos currently lead the way in the Super League following the 38-22 comeback victory over Catalan Dragons on Saturday evening, and the club confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that their captain would be moving on at the end of the current season.
"This was one of the toughest decisions of my career but I know the time is right for me to finish my time in Rugby League and embark on a new challenge with Yorkshire Carnegie," Sinfield told www.therhinos.co.uk.
"I never wanted to play against the Rhinos and throughout my career I have always had an admiration for Rugby Union and wanted to challenge myself in that code. I am fortunate as a professional player in this era that opportunities like this exist for me and it is something I want to grab with both hands.
"Sir Ian McGeechan, the new board and owners of Yorkshire Carnegie have set out ambitious plans to gain promotion from the Greene King IPA Championship next season and regain their place in the Aviva Premiership and that is something that excites me. It is a new challenge for me and I know I will have a lot to learn however we spend a lot of time with the Carnegie players at our training ground at Kirkstall so that will help me settle in.
"My entire adult life has been spent at Leeds Rhinos and I am extremely grateful for all the support I have had over the past two decades. My goal now is to do whatever I can to make sure we have further success this year and finish the season and my Rhinos career on the best possible note."