Leeds Rhinos' James Donaldson banned - and Wakefield Trinity forward Yusuf Aydin cautioned - following Boxing Day game

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Leeds Rhinos forward James Donaldson has been banned for two matches after his sin-binning in the Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity.

Donaldson was charged by the RFL' s match review panel with grade C dangerous contact.

He was shown a yellow card by referee Jack Smith for a late tackle in the 40th minute of Rhinos’ opening pre-season game.

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Trinity forward Yusuf Aydin received an official caution for dangerous contact following a 'late hit on [the] passer' in the 21st minute, but was not suspended.

Rhinos' James Donaldson. Picture by Allan McKenzie.Rhinos' James Donaldson. Picture by Allan McKenzie.
Rhinos' James Donaldson. Picture by Allan McKenzie.

The RFL have pledged tougher sentences for striking, headbutting, kicking and late hits this year in an attempt to cut out dangerous play and provide more protection for players.

Rhinos have four more pre-season fixtures and an RFL spokesman confirmed Donaldson will be able to count two of those towards his suspension, meaning he will be available for the home clash with Warrington Wolves in Betfred Super League round one, on Saturday, February 12.

The crackdown on dangerous play was announced by the RFL this weekend, along with longer layoffs for players who fail concussion tests and a game-wide three-year research project looking into the effect of head impacts.

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From this season players who fail a concussion test during a match or training will not be permitted to play in another game for a minimum of 11 days, rather than the previous week-long break.

Yusuf Aydin of Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Allan McKenzie.Yusuf Aydin of Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Allan McKenzie.
Yusuf Aydin of Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Allan McKenzie.

And more than 1,000 players will be given the opportunity to wear instrumented mouthguards which will be used to impact and cause of concussions.

All 12 Betfred Super League clubs will work with the RFL and researchers at Leeds Beckett University on the TaCKLE - Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Load and Exposure - project.

Teams from Women’s Super League, the Under-18s academy competition, and open age, under-16 and under-14 teams from the community game will also take part.

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Professor Ben Jones, lead researcher from Leeds Beckett and strategic lead for performance and research in the RFL’s England performance unit, said: “The pilot study for the TaCKLE project generated the data we needed to measure the effectiveness and accuracy of a range of instrumented mouthguards.

“We are working closely with other sports who also recognise the importance of research in this area and are interested in the project, largely because we will be monitoring both male and female players from different sections of rugby league.”

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