Signing set for debut as Leeds Rhinos youngsters test revolutionary law changes v Bradford Bulls
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The innovations - being trialled for four weeks at academy level - are part of the RFL’s efforts to reduce the number of concussions suffered during games.
“The RFL notified us quite a while ago this was going to take place,” Rhinos academy coach Tony Smith said. “It hasn’t just been sprung on us.
“We’ve seen some footage of some perfect kind of technique, but there’s going to be some teething problems.
“It is going to be difficult because kids who have been tackling all their lives are now learning how to tackle below the armpit.
“We have worked on it in practice, but what it looks like in a game we won’t know until we get out there on Thursday.”
Smith predicted: “With the new rules coming into place, that’s going to make it a totally different kind of game.
“We don’t know what to expect with the tackling restrictions and we are going to have to play in a different way. I think it will be a bit of a level playing field and there’ll be a lot of penalties as well, I think.”
England Under-18 rugby union international back Ned McCormack will make his debut for Rhinos.
Smith said: “He has been training for the last five or six weeks and he’s chomping at the bit. He is a good athlete and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Leeds’ initial 21 also includes winger Neil Tchamambe who was this week called into the England academy squad for a Test against France under-19s next month.
“Neil is coming on week by week,” Smith noted. “He plays for the reserves one week and the academy the week after so his development is sort of getting fast tracked compared to some other players, but he deserves that.
“He deserves to be in the England squad and so do Jack Smith and Jack Sinfield, so well done to those three.”
Rhinos’ 21-player squad to face Bradford (Thursday, 7pm) is: Leo Aliyu, Mason Corbett, Declan Ementon, Tobias Gibson, Harrison Gilmore, Bobby Hartley, Ben Littlewood, Riley Lumb, Fergus McCormack, Ned McCormack, Zach McSwiney, Lewis Peacock, Joe Phillips, Dylan Proud, Jack Purtill, Riley Sunderland, Tayler Stephenson, Tom Stevens, Harry Taylor, Neil Tchamambe, Shane Tuohey.