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Hero Sinfield inspires Leicester's next England generation

By Chris Jones
Dan Kelly made his England debut in the summer (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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England centre Dan Kelly is taking inspiration from Leicester defence coach Kevin Sinfield, describing the rugby league great as having the “heart of a Lion” and is constantly asking him for advice.

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Kelly, who is still only 20, made his debut for England in the summer victory over Canada, and admits he is a regular visitor to Sinfield’s office at the Leicester training ground to question the rugby league legend who spent the club’s Premiership bye week running 101 miles in 24 hours to raise money to support his former Leeds team mate Rob Burrow who is battling MND.

Kelly, who will face reigning champions Harlequins on Sunday, and the rest of the Leicester club are in awe of Sinfield’s mental and physical strength and the centre said: “I have taken so much from Kev in the four or five months he has been with us and the list of things would be so long.

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Antoine Dupont
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Antoine Dupont

“We all play for him in defence and it’s massive to have him in the meeting each day with the respect we have for what he does off the pitch for his mates and his career and everything he has achieved in his life.

“You want to go and tackle for the bloke and to come in and see the smile in his face when you have had a good defensive performance. He played rugby league how I want to play union in that he could pass, kick and go through the line and put people away and he had the heart of a Lion.

“He would tackle anything and he has all the tips and the little details that for a 20-year-old will only push me on. I am being a sponge and he is getting sick of me asking him questions and he does say that because I am coming into his office every two minutes. He has been an awesome addition to the team.”

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Kelly shares a house with full back Freddie Steward who has been outstanding having broken into the Leicester and England team, making the No15 jersey his own at club and international level.

“Freddie is smashing it:” added Kelly. “He has got safe hands but can’t play golf! He hasn’t dropped anything ever and as long as he keeps doing that it will keep a smile on my face. I don’t know what South Africa were thinking kicking the ball to the best in the world under the high ball. He is grounded and so humble and the sky is the limit for that kid.”

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