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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 19:04 GMT
Aussies seek law change deadline
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter (c) drives forward for the Crusaders
Dan Carter is among the players having to adapt to the ELVs
Australia want rugby authorities to introduce experimental rule changes across the board by 1 September.

The experimental law variations (ELVs) are already being partially trialled by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in this year's Super 14.

The IRB refused to be drawn although it said the northern hemisphere unions would be encouraged to trial the changes, initially at club level.

But Australia want their November Tests to be played under the ELVs.

"Certainly our preference - our very strong preference - is that every game from 1 September is played under the ELVs," said Australia Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill.

"If the IRB is truly the governing body of world rugby it should just mandate that 1 September is the date from which every competition should use the experimental laws."

Tim Sims

The Super 14 is the leading club tournament in the southern hemisphere featuring provincial teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Australia, who are keen for the laws to be in place for this year's Tri-Nations, will open their autumn tour against New Zealand in Hong Kong on 1 November and then face Italy, England, France and Wales.

The ELVs include downgrading most penalty offences to free-kicks and allowing teams to legally collapse the maul, but their introduction is a controversial topic in the sport.

Speaking earlier this month, O'Neill suggested that some northern hemisphere unions were far from enthusiastic about the proposed changes.

"A couple of the northern hemisphere unions indicated very strong reservations and a very strong level of scepticism about the new laws," said O'Neill.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew also called on the northern unions to reserve judgement.

"We got some reservations amongst some of our colleagues, particularly in the north," he said.

"All we ask is we sit back and analyse the facts and we want them to trial it themselves in northern hemisphere competitions."

The IRB's Laws Project Group is meeting with the representatives of the Six Nations unions on 27-28 March in London.

It is being billed as an "information and consultation meeting" with the hope that the northern hemisphere unions can be persuaded to start trialling the changes in their top-level club game.

The IRB plans to hold a vote in November in order to decide whether some or all of the ELVs will be introduced into the sport for a further 12 months.

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