England league veteran Kevin Sinfield retires
England will need to find a new captain for next month's Four Nations rugby league tournament after Kevin Sinfield decided to put club before country and retire from international football.
The lock forward, who turns 34 later this month, won 26 England caps and made 14 Great Britain appearances. He played in the last three World Cups.
But Sinfield wants to prolong his club career with Leeds and believes to do that, he needs to call time on his test career.
That means no Four Nations with the tournament to be held in Australia and New Zealand and also featuring the Samoan national team.
"Following the World Cup, I was keen to continue. However, I want to be able to perform at the highest possible level whenever I take the field," Sinfield said in announcing his retirement.
"I believe that by taking this decision, it will enable me to do that for the Rhinos for the remainder of my career."
Sinfield captained Leeds to their first Challenge Cup final victory in 15 years last month.
''This is a decision I have taken a great deal of time over and it has been the toughest of my professional career,'' he said.
"I will cherish my memories of international rugby, they have helped shape me into the player I am today and it has always been special to pull on the England or Great Britain shirt.
"Steve McNamara and the team have a great opportunity this year in Australia and New Zealand and I wish them all the very best for the Four Nations."
Coach McNamara paid tribute to Sinfield: "Kevin is the ultimate rugby league professional and it has been a privilege to work with him in the last few years, when his attitude, application and enthusiasm have rubbed off on everybody.
"His contribution and commitment to the England programme has been exemplary.
"I know that he has not taken this decision lightly and having spoken to him at length in the last few days I fully understand his reasons for calling time on his international career.
"Kevin's achievements with Leeds Rhinos are well documented and this decision will allow him to focus fully on extending his record as the club's most successful captain."