Rugby Union

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John Bentley, the Lions winger, will miss Newcastle's first three matches of the new season, including the Allied Dunbar Premiership opener against Bath, because of his commitment to the Halifax Blue Sox rugby league club. He is ruled out of the warm-up derby game against West Hartlepool on 17 August at Kingston Park plus the First Division matches at Bath on 23 August and Northampton at home on 31 August.