James McDonnell ruled out of reunion against former club Wigan

Josh McAllister
James McDonnell, SWPix.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Leeds Rhinos will be without back-rower James McDonnell for their trip to the DW Stadium this Friday to face Wigan due to injury. 

Both Leeds and Wigan head into the Round 12 Super League clash fresh from defeats, with Rohan Smith’s Rhinos falling short against Salford, while Wigan fell to their third loss of the season against Hull. 

It saw Warrington reclaim their spot at the top of the Super League table following their 32-18 victory over Wakefield.

Ireland international and back-rower McDonnell will miss the tie against his former club due to an arm injury.

McDonnell, 23, made his professional debut for Wigan back in 2020 against St Helens, going on to make six appearances for the club before switching to Headingley Stadium ahead of 2023 on a two-year deal. 

He has featured nine times under Smith so far, scoring three times.

The Rhinos are still without half-back Aidan Sezer after he suffered a dead leg at Leigh two weeks ago, while the side welcome back Derrell Olpherts and Luis Roberts into their 21-man squad.

Jack Sinfield also misses out after failing his head injury assessment against Salford.

James McDonnell injury latest

“It’s a short-term injury there,” Smith said on McDonnell.

“He tried to battle through the second half, but he was struggling there.

“We made that change in the game and it hasn’t quite settled. He won’t be too far away though.”

On Sinfield, Smith continued: “Jack was a bit bashed up after the game, his nose and his lip was a bit sore.

“But post-Saturday afternoon, Sunday, he was fine.

“He sees a specialist doctor tomorrow I believe to cover that, but he’s had no symptoms or no major issues this week following that.” 

Rohan Smith previews Wigan clash

Smith says Friday’s clash with Wigan is an important game for their season, having currently found themselves outside the play-offs in eighth position with just five wins from 11.

Matt Peet’s Wigan fell to a 14-10 defeat to Hull last Thursday, but Leeds boss Smith knows his side face a strong test.

“They’ve been one of the stand-out teams,” Smith said, previewing Friday’s game.

“They’ve had a quality start to the season. They’re well coached and have a good roster.

“They’re playing with some level of confidence and clearly they’ll want to bounce back from last week’s result.

“They came home strong at the back end of that game, it could have gone either way in the end.

“They’re a quality team with plenty of threat.

“It’s an important game for our season.”

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