Former dual code England international Kyle Eastmond has announced his shock retirement from rugby at the age of 31.
Eastmond began his professional career in 2007 with rugby league club St. Helens, and made four appearances for England’s national rugby league team before switching to rugby union with Bath in 2011.
The Greater Manchester native played six times for England in the 15-man code, and also played for Wasps and Leicester Tigers before switching back to rugby league with Leeds Rhinos in March.
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) May 17, 2021
However, Eastmond only played twice for Leeds before announcing his retirement today with immediate effect at the age of 31.
“I love rugby and will always be involved in it. I’ve come to realise the passion to influence the game is no longer on the field. It is this love and respect for the game, that leads me to this decision,” Eastmond said.
“I would like to say thank you so much to Kevin Sinfield, Leeds Rhinos and all the fans and wish the team all the best for the rest of the season.”
‘This is an incredibly brave decision by Kyle.’
Eastmond was released by Leicester last year after the club had to find a way to reduce costs due to the effects of the pandemic, which spurred the versatile backline player to return to rugby league.
While the move ultimately didn’t work at for Eastmond as well as he may have liked, Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield commended the dual-code international for a brave decision.
A man of both codes 🏉
Former England centre Kyle Eastmond has announced his retirement from professional rugby.
Best of luck in whatever comes next, Kyle 🌹 pic.twitter.com/0RZ4NaK5lg
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 17, 2021
“I think this is an incredibly brave decision by Kyle and a testament to the high standards that he sets for himself,” Sinfield commented.
“When we originally spoke to him, we had belief in his ability and talent and that remains the case however after a year out of rugby due to the pandemic, he has found that he is unable to reach the standards he expects of himself in training and playing.”