Sinfield key to England hopes
There will be no let-up for Leeds' victorious captain Kevin Sinfield at the end of the domestic season as he prepares to move on to the international stage.
The inspirational goalkicking playmaker, who led the Rhinos to their sixth Grand-Final triumph in stunning fashion at the weekend, has not missed a match for his club for more than two years and played in all six games for England in 2011.
He was rested for this year's two-match series against the Exiles but his man-of-the-match performance at Old Trafford came on his 37th appearance of the year for Leeds, and on Wednesday he will link up with England to prepare for the autumn internationals.
While his Rhinos half-back partner Danny McGuire and St Helens hooker James Roby are being rested for the triangular series with Wales and France, and a host of other key men will undergo minor surgery, England coach Steve McNamara insists Sinfield is not in need of a break.
"I don't think he does," McNamara said. "I think with Kev, the more he plays, the better he gets, it's as simple as that. He's fit and healthy and his body is in great condition. He had a break in 2010 when we went to Australia and New Zealand. He's fine."
Sinfield, who will fly out with England for their high-altitude training camp in South Africa, is an obvious candidate to succeed his Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock as captain of the national team.
McNamara will announce his new skipper during the 10-day camp, which is seen as vital preparation not only for the forthcoming games against Wales and France but also for the 2013 World Cup, which is just a year away.
Meanwhile, Peacock, who retired from the international game after the opening Exiles fixture in June, is set to play a major role in England's preparations for the World Cup.
"Jamie will be a vital part of our programme," McNamara said. "I think he's got a whole lot to offer, not just at senior level but to our whole programme, from our Under-16s upwards.
"He needs a rest after his heroics again this year. I don't want him anywhere near the England squad for this tournament. He will be a member of our staff with some specific roles that I will ask him to fulfil. We have got to come to an agreement on all of those things but that is the proposal at this moment in time and we will announce them in due course."