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Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:08 UK

Drewett assesses new rugby laws

Pete Drewett
Drewett says the new law variations have speeded up rugby

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Pete Drewett says many teams are still adapting to the experimental law variations that came in this season.

"It seems the game has speeded up somewhat, but we're still looking at the stats," Drewett told BBC Devon.

"With backs five metres away from the scrum it's creating more space."

But Drewett, who attends an event about the new rules hosted by the Chiefs on Wednesday, says the new laws still need some time to bed down.

"It's still very much the way referees are interpreting the tackle area and also the scrum situation," he added.

"The number eights at the scrum are in a very strong position to pick up the ball, as are the nines, because they've got more space to attack."

The rules, which include forcing back lines to be at least five metres behind a scrum and unlimited players at line-outs, have been in force since August.

There are also new rules on mauls, allowing defending teams to collapse a maul, whereas previously they had been forced to stop the maul without forcing the ball carrier to ground.

"People may be thinking now why aren't people using the maul quite as much," Drewett said.

Some teams have struggled with the new laws. Exeter's south west rivals in National League One, the Cornish Pirates, have appointed a new coach from New Zealand to help them with the changes.

see also
Hat-trick man Budgen gets praise
20 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Otley 0-69 Exeter Chiefs
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Cornish Pirates get in Kiwi coach
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
The lowdown on the new law variations
04 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union

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