England and Great Britain's Kevin Sinfield announced his retirement from international Rugby league yesterday after a career providing him with 40 caps. Fast approaching his 34th birthday, the Leeds Rhinos' skipper decided that the time was right to end his involvement playing for the national side, with a view to prolonging his domestic involvement. After several heartbreaking Wembley defeats, Sinfield recently achieved a long term ambition to lift the Challenge Cup as captain with the Rhinos, when they defeated Castleford in an all Yorkshire final at Wembley, to add to several Super League triumphs.

He remains as the current Super League's record all time points scorer and will look to add to that tally now that the distraction of non-domestic rugby has been removed.

His England debut was way back in 2000, the year in which he featured in the World Cup for them, scoring a hat trick of tries in a heavy defeat over Russia in the group stages. A year later he was part of the Great Britain squad for the Ashes Series and repeated the feat in the 2007 series against the other powerhouse of rugby league, the Kiwis. His last match for England was to captain them in the dramatic but ultimately disappointing World Cup last year, where New Zealand snatched victory in the last seconds of the match to knock them out in the semifinals.

His decision leaves England coach Steve McNamara with a choice to make over his new captain ahead of this year's four nations tournament, to be played in Australia and New Zealand in the autumn. Besides the co-hosts, England will also face Samoa in a very strong competition. Early contenders for the role would seem to be Wigan's leader Sean O'Loughlin or perhaps James Graham, who is currently playing Down Under.

It has been a summer of England captains calling it a day, as Steven Gerrard made a similar announcement regarding the national football team. Sinfield will hope that he can continue to lead the Rhinos for some time yet though and regaining the Super League at the end of this season will be his next short term ambition.