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Jones still wary of ELVs

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Eddie Jones hailed his Saracens side after a 44-14 victory over Newcastle on Sunday gave his current team their first English Premiership victory of the season.

News24 reports that that didn’t stop Jones from continuing to criticise the new experimental law variations (ELVs), some of which are being trialled in the ongoing northern hemisphere season.

Tries from Kameli Ratuvou, Kevin Sorrell, Hugh Vyvyan, Rod Penney and Gordon Ross, who also converted the last one, plus 17 points from the boot of Kiwi stand-off Glen Jackson helped Sarries to a bonus point win after narrow defeats against both Harlequins and Sale.

Jones was particularly pleased by the way in which the north London club, with All Black lock Chris Jack again playing as a flanker, came to terms with the new experimental law variations, although he remains far from convinced about the worth of the rule changes.

“It’s a very tight competition but we took our opportunities and got a few points,” he said after Sunday’s one-sided match at Vicarage Road.

“We had some control today and, with the way the game’s being played at the moment and the interpretation of the laws, you need that control.

“You’ve then got to be good enough to take advantage of your opportunities and we did that today.

“We want to be a side that can play at the highest level and to do that you have to be robust in a certain number of areas.

Promote entertainment

“One’s the set piece and the other is defence and in both of those areas for 70 minutes we can give ourselves a pass mark.”

As for Jack’s new role, Jones couldn’t see what the debate was about. “To me he is just playing his natural game and that’s how he played as a lock.

“He’s a good skilful player, he’s not a grinding lock so playing number six, in these conditions I think he’ll do it pretty well.”

Last week Jones and Australian Rugby Union managing director John O’Neill clashed over the impact of the ELVs.

O’Neill believes they promote entertainment but Jones has sided with northern hemisphere critics who argue that the changes, which see most penalty offences become free kicks instead, equate to legalised cheating and lead to an increased amount of kicking in open play.

“There is a great deal of worry about is it the wrong way to play the game but I think after five or six or seven weeks we’ll see a sorting out and then everyone will understand the laws we are going to play under and how they are going to interpret it,” Jones explined.

Newcastle captain Phil Dowson and flanker Ed Williamson were both yellow-carded within a minute of each other and Falcons head coach Steve Bates said: “We had two men sin-binned and that meant we were always going to be under pressure.”

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