Former England centre Eastmond announces shock retirement from rugby at 31
Former England centre Kyle Eastmond has announced his retirement from all forms of rugby today. The 31-year-old was part of a mass player exodus at Leicester Tigers in July last year after failing to sign a new deal at Welford Road. Due to the financial implications of the pandemic, players were offered amended deals which Eastmond and fellow England international Manu Tuilagi did not sign.
The six-cap England centre made a return to rugby league in March after ten years in union, teaming up with Leeds Rhinos ahead of the new Super League season. He made two appearances this season before announcing his retirement today.
Eastmond said: “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. 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.”
Leeds Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “I think this is an incredibly brave decision by Kyle and a testament to the high standards that he sets for himself. 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.”
Eastmond left league’s St Helens in 2011 at the age of 22 to join Bath. He spent four-and-a-half years at the Rec before joining Wasps in 2016 and Leicester in 2018.
He earned all six of his England caps while he was a Bath player, two against Argentina in 2013, three against the All Blacks during a tour of New Zealand in 2014, and his final cap came that autumn against South Africa.
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