Jamie Jones-Buchanan credits ‘band of brothers’ at Leeds after MBE award

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Former Leeds and England forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan paid tribute to Rob Burrow and the rest of his former Rhinos team-mates after being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

The 40-year-old, who spent 20 years playing for his home-town club, winning every honour available in the game before retiring at the end of the 2019 season, has been recognised for his services to rugby league and the community.

Jones-Buchanan is the fourth member of the successful Leeds team of the first two decades of the century to be recognised – Kevin Sinfield has both an MBE and an OBE while Burrow, who is battling with motor neurone disease, and Jamie Peacock have been honoured with MBEs.

Jamie-Jones Buchanan Testimonial – Emerald Headingley
Jamie Jones-Buchanan with children Bane, Lore, Dacx and Kurgan was pictured with Rob Burrow and his children Macy, Maya and Jackson before their joint testimonial match at Headingley in 2020 (Dave Howarth/PA)

“I don’t know what the stats are but I’m guessing that’s an overrepresentation of how many people in rugby league get recognised and I think that serves to underline and emphasise that band of brothers, which is why we were so successful,” Jones-Buchanan said.

“There was always a benevolence, an altruism, a selflessness about that group and that’s the message I’m trying to articulate to the next generation of players.”

Jones-Buchanan, who is now part of the Rhinos’ coaching team, added: “I’m just a reflection of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by, namely Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, a very special cohort of players who were successful on the pitch but in many ways more successful off it.

Kevin Sinfield – The Extra Mile Challenge – Leicester to Leeds
Kevin Sinfield was Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s captain for most of his career (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“That group is shining more brightly now than it did on the field which is testament to the culture and camaraderie we had as a group of men.”

The former Stanningley junior won seven Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup, three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders’ Shields in over 400 appearances for the Rhinos but says the MBE will hold pride of place among his mementos.

“It’s a massive honour, I’m really proud,” he said. “When fellas from Bramley get letters with HMRC on it’s not usually good news. I opened it thinking it might be from the tax man but, when I realised what it was, I was blown away massively.

“Getting that letter was a really nice end to what has been a special chapter in my life and some encouragement for the future. The fact that it transcends sport as well makes it a bit more special.

“That day I was really fuzzy and warm and I have been ever since. I’m just a local kid who was fortunate to play rugby and have some great experiences.”

A member of England’s team for the 2008 World Cup, Jones-Buchanan has combined his coaching role by building a successful media production company away from the game and also is a passionate speaker about his Christian faith.

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