Why Leeds Rhinos star could have played his last game in the Rugby League World Cup

Mikolaj Oledzki picked up only his second official test cap on Saturday as England took on France in Bolton in the second game of their Rugby League World Cup campaign.

The prop’s first cap came against France away in 2021 but he has featured in the games against the Combined Nations All Stars in 2021 and 2022 which some people consider caps.

Oledzki started on the bench and didn’t look out of place and no matter what happens through the rest of the tournament, the young prop is set to be a major player for England over the next decade and maybe more.

Right now, he could be regarded as Super League’s best prop after Alex Walmsley and he’s only going to get better especially as props tend to mature later in their careers.

However, he may have played his last game in the World Cup in 2022. This is because the Leeds man was put on report for a cannon ball tackle in the win over France.

This is where a tackler comes from behind and goes through the attacking player’s knee joints.

This could lead to a ban which would see him at least miss the Greece game and potentially more. It’s unlikely to see him banned for the rest of the tournament, however if he misses the Greece game, he may struggle to get back into the 17 with the likes of Matty Lees and Mike Cooper ahead of him in the pecking order going off the team Shaun Wane named against Samoa.

That said, there were plenty of mitigating circumstances around Oledzki’s tackle that occurred in the 54th minute of England’s clash with France.

For instance, Oledzki’s contact may not have had the same effect had Andy Ackers not joined the tackle at the same time from the other side jolting Catalans’ Jordan Dezaria back forcing him to bend backwards over the top of Oledzki.

This is not to say Ackers did anything wrong, quite the contrary, but it could mitigate Oledzki’s offence giving him the chance to star against Greece and nail down a place in the side going into the knockout stages.

We shall find out later today.

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