Leicester Tigers centre Kyle Eastmond

Former England centre Kyle Eastmond announces retirement at 31

Former England centre Kyle Eastmond has announced his retirement from all forms of rugby.

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 by signing a two-year deal. 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 St Helens in 2011 and experienced spells in the Premiership with Bath, Wasps and Leicester Tigers.

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