Leeds Rhinos honour Rob Burrow at first match since rugby star's death

21 June 2024, 20:29 | Updated: 21 June 2024, 22:30

Tributes have been paid to Rob Burrow at his former club Leeds Rhinos, with fans joining more than 80 players in honouring the star.

Burrow died aged 41 earlier this month, four years after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

He spent his entire rugby career with Leeds Rhinos and won eight Super League titles with the side.

Friday's match against Leigh Leopards was Leeds Rhino's first since Burrow's death and as the teams emerged from the tunnel at Headingley, fans in the East Stand held up blue and yellow placards depicting his initials and shirt number.

Two giant banners were unfurled, one with an image of the rugby star and a second with his quote: "In a world full of adversity we must dare to dream."

The game coincidentally took place on Global MND Awareness Day and the Leeds players wore a special blue and orange kit designed by Cath Muir, who was diagnosed with MND in 2014.

The shirt features Burrow with his teammate and best friend Kevin Sinfield, and a portion of the profit from each one sold will be donated to the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND.

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A video message from Sinfield, who is currently in Japan with the England rugby union team, was one of several tributes played on big screens inside the stadium.

Sinfield called Burrow his "little friend" and "the bravest and toughest man I've ever met".

Burrow's father, Geoff, addressed the crowd, and said: "It's a very emotional night, especially because Leeds v Leigh was the first game I brought Rob to. He loved every minute.

"I wish he could have seen this crowd. He had a fabulous sense of humour. He was cheeky. He was a lovely lad and I'll miss him so much."

Australian player Danny Buderus flew to the UK especially for the match.

"You used to see a lot of opposition game plans was to try and run at Rob and it never worked," he said. "He stood solid and put them on their backside.

"They're the fighting qualities Rob showed right through his career. Rob was an inspiration to all those kids who might think they don't have an athletic build, or they're too short.

"They are the same qualities he needed after he retired, and the standard he kept until the end."