Rugby Union: Five culture shocks for the new season

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The Independent Online
1 Sin-bins. No one seems to know quite how the system will be used, but it's there anyway.

2 Ten-minute half-times. Nothing to do with television demands, apparently, but at least the players will now be able to eat a whole orange rather than a single segment.

3 Sunday internationals. Sacrilege, but true nevertheless. Two Five Nations matches, Scotland v England on 22 March and Wales v France on 5 April, will be played on a Sunday. Perhaps England should ask France to play in August, when all the Tricolores will be on holiday.

4 England at Old Trafford. The familiar cry of "Come On You Reds" may well be replaced by "Come on You Red Faces", owing to the fact that England are venturing into unfamiliar territory to play the All Blacks in Manchester on 22 November. Why, for heaven's sake? It's hard enough squaring up to Sean Fitzpatrick on home turf.

5 Wales at Wembley. Even stranger, in many ways. The Red Dragon will be breathing fire over the twin towers when Scotland and France make their biennial Five Nations treks in the new year. Still, the Welsh could hardly be less successful in London than they have been in Cardiff, could they?

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