Jones-Buchanan happy to be ‘Rhino for life’

Jamie Jones Buchanan
Jamie Jones Buchanan
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ENGLAND international Jamie Jones-Buchanan has signed a new deal which will see him play his entire career with Leeds Rhinos.

The industrious second-row, 32, has already amassed more than 300 games for the West Yorkshire club since debuting in 1999.

He has lifted six Super League titles, plus three World Club Challenge trophies, and become a fulcrum of one of the modern era’s finest sides.

His previous contract was due to finish at the end of the coming season, but Jones-Buchanan, 32, has penned a two-year extension taking him through to 2016.

It is no surprise they have moved swiftly to sort out his future although, similarly, it was highly unlikely the Leeds-born player would consider switching away from Headingley.

“I am pleased, this will make me a Rhino for life,” he said. “It has always been an honour for me to be a bit of a patriarch – I had one amateur club and one professional club and that means a lot to me.

“It is something I will hold in high regard when I look back, especially being able to do it at Leeds with all the success we’ve had over the last few years and with it being my hometown club.

“The novelty’s never worn off. Even now, with all the mileage and journeys I’ve been on, the hairs never stop standing up on the back of my neck.

“Playing in a blue and amber shirt, in front of friends and family in the South Stand, means as much to me now as it did on day one.”

Given the increasing longevity of professional players, Jones-Buchanan has not ruled out extending his career beyond this latest deal too.

“This contract will take me to 35 and that’s a ripe old age for a rugby player,” he said. “But having said that JP (Jamie Peacock) and Kylie (Leuluai) are flying the flag, they are still enjoying it and playing as well as ever.”

Leeds coach Brian McDermott said: “Jamie is at the core of our club, not just because of what he does on the field, but what he offers off it as well.

“As part of the group of five who have won six Grand Finals his place in the club’s history books is already assured, but his enthusiasm for what still lies ahead helps drive everyone on.”

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ Chris Annakin will miss the start of the season with a knee injury.

Wigan Warriors have agreed to the release of Epalahame Lauaki from the final year of his contract.

He joined from Hull FC ahead of the start of the 2012 season, but made only six appearances last year and it is understood he returned home to New Zealand in August, citing personal problems.

Their Wales RU recruit Andy Powell is also nearing an early exit.