James Donaldson free to start Super League season despite ban

James Donaldson Leeds

Leeds forward James Donaldson will be free to start the new Super League season despite being given a two-match suspension.

The former Bradford and Hull KR second-rower missed only three matches for his club in 2021. He was handed a two-match penalty notice for a dangerous late tackle during the Rhinos’ friendly win over Wakefield on Boxing Day.

Donaldson will be able to use two of Leeds’ other pre-season friendlies to wipe out the ban, making him available for their round-one game against Warrington on February 12.

The Rugby Football League’s match review panel handed a caution to Wakefield forward Yusuf Aydin; for making dangerous contact on an opponent in the same game.

RFL tighten rule on late hits, concussion protocol extended as RFL roll out three-year mouthguard project

Leroy Cudjoe of Huddersfield has a concussion assessment
Leroy Cudjoe of Huddersfield has a concussion assessment

The concussion return to play protocol has been extended, whilst the RFL will begin a three-year mouthguard project to measure head knocks.

The Rugby Football League board has accepted a recommendation from the sport’s clinical advisory group to amend the return-to-play protocols. Players who fail concussion tests during matches or training will not be permitted to play again for at least 11 days; which is up from seven.

The governing body is also amending the sentencing guidelines for foul play in 2022; with players facing stiffer punishment for striking, head-butting, kicking and late hits.

Meanwhile, the RFL is preparing to launch a game-wide research project to quantify head impact and acceleration exposures; with the aim of increasing understanding and reducing future risk.

It follows a pilot study when Leeds and Salford players wore instrumented mouthguards to measure head impact exposures; and how tackle technique and tackle height influence head acceleration loading.

The guards, fitted with micro-chips and relay data to touchline medical staff, have been used by Premiership rugby union clubs.

All 12 Super League clubs are committed to working with researchers on the TaCKLE – Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Load and Exposure – project.

The scheme will be extended to teams from the Women’s Super League, the Under-18s academy and community clubs. More than 1,000 players will have the opportunity to take part.

READ MORE: My Set of Six: with Jenna Brooks featuring Rob Burrow & her beloved St George

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