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It's Bok to the drawing board.


POWERFUL Springbok centre Gcobani Bobo reckons only trial and error will settle the Premiership into normal rhythm - but he hopes Newcastle Falcons can take advantage of early-season experimentation.

The South African midfielder has already marked himself out as a real physical threat for the new-look Falcons, and is looking forward to causing mayhem in both defence and attack this term.

No stranger to the odd rule change or two, Bobo said he expects the new breakdown law interpretations to keep sides tinkering with their gameplans for several weeks yet.

After going through a similar uncertain time last season with the ELV trials, Bobo knows a thing or two about how to get the better of the feeling-out period.

So rather than sit back and let other sides find the loopholes to exploit, Bobo wants the Falcons to start making the new rules work for them - not the other way around.

The Falcons entertain Sale at Kingston Park tomorrow (kickoff 3pm), with Bobo once again partnering Rob Vickerman in the centres.

Tane Tu'ipulotu faces a late fitness test for a place on the bench as he battles to beat his neck problem, while up front Ed Williamson starts at blindside and Filipo Levi slots in for his competitive debut at No 8. Expecting a tough Sale challenge, Bobo said: "It always takes a few rounds to get accustomed to the rule changes and to work out where the leeway is.

"Most of the teams at the moment feel that they can't really run with the ball, so they are waiting to play until they get into other people's territory and are just taking it from there.

"That's less risk, because they feel like anything that goes wrong in your own half leads to points conceded.

"That's something we just have to measure up and see how we can work our way around it.

"It's all about finding middle ground within these new laws and everybody adjusting to them, seeing what works.

"For the first two or three rounds teams will still be feeling out those boundaries, so hopefully we can exploit that to our own benefit.

"It's a bit different from the Southern Hemisphere, just some things felt very strangely different.

"The competition is up there, and what's nice about it is it's the level you want to play your rugby at, it's really a first-class grade.

"And now I am relishing what's to come, I really want to get my hands dirty and get into it.

"The way the guys have been competing on the ground has actually been impressive, but it's sad for the guys watching the game because it's hard to understand from a distance what's happening.

"And sometimes actually I think the refs struggle with the interpretation at ruck time, but something we're all very much looking for is to get quicker ball and then we can get our fast boys into space.

"It was a bit frustrating not getting the ball that we wanted, but it's up to us to set up that platform much better so that we can get quick ball.

"If we can do that then it means points under the posts, and that's what we're after tomorrow." NEWCASTLE FALCONS: Alex Tait, Charlie Amesbury, Rob Vickerman, Gcobani Bobo, Tom Biggs, Jimmy Gopperth, Micky Young, Jon Golding, Rob Vickers, Carl Hayman (c), James Hudson, Tim Swinson, Ed Williamson, Brent Wilson, Filipo Levi. Replacements: Matt Thompson, Micky Ward, Laurence Ovens, Mark Sorenson, Adam Balding, Hall Charlton, Rob Miller, Tane Tu'ipulotu. SALE SHARKS: Marika Vakacegu, Mark Cueto, Mathew Tait, Andy Tuilagi, Ben Cohen, Lee Thomas, Richard Wigglesworth, Andy Sheridan, Mahonri Shwalger, Eifion Roberts, Chris Jones, Dean Schofield (capt), James Gaskell, Neil Briggs, David Tait. Replacements: Marc Jones, Gavin Kerr, Jack Forster, David Seymour, Rob O'Donnell, Will Cliff, Nick Macleod, Chris Bell.

HOLDING ROLE: Gcobani Bobo (left) tries to halt the charge of Alfie To'oala during the Falcons game at Leeds last weekend


TAKING A BOW: Filipo Levi is set for his Falcons competitive debut
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 12, 2009
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