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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 15:22 UK

Bates keen to test new rugby laws

Steve Bates
Bates is interested to see how the ELV will work in England

Newcastle Falcons coach Steve Bates will use Friday's match with Western Force to observe the Experimental Law Variations ahead of the new season.

The Super 14 side are in Newcastle for Matt Burke's testimonial and Bates is keen to see how his side will cope with the new rules in competitive matches.

"This game will give us first-hand experience of the law changes," he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"It's a great opportunity for us to get an early look at the implications."

Experimental Law Variations were devised and introduced by the International Rugby Board following consultation with coaches and players throughout world rugby.

Super 14 Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere has been trialling the ELVs for the last year and now the Guinness Premiership is set to adopt some of these laws in domestic competition.

Meanwhile Falcons returned to training a month ago and Bates has been impressed with the dedication and improvement his side has shown since returning from their summer break.

"It's been very encouraging, we've got a lot of fitness, strength and conditioning under our belt," he said.

"We haven't done a lot of rugby up till now, but we've still got four or five weeks till the start of the season.

"So far the guys are looking in excellent shape."

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