Klaxon signals new times for union

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A clamorous sort of history will be made if Wasps' First Division fixture against Sale on Saturday survives the weather, writes Steve Bale.

It will be the first in England to have an official timekeeper wielding a klaxon under an experiment announced by the Rugby Football Union last night.

The experiment - common practice for years in Australia - applies only to the First Division, with each of the 10 clubs having been sent a klaxon and stop-watch by the union. The RFU's referees' committee believes the experiment will lead to an increase in playing time.

What is certain is that time-keeping will be more accurate, with the clock stopped promptly for injuries and 40 seconds after a place-kicker has indicated he is going for goal - in other words, as now. Once the klaxon sounds, play will end with the next stoppage. The running time will also be kept, using a second clock, so that the RFU can ascertain the percentage of time during which the ball is in play.