Rugby Union: Newcastle to start season minus Bentley

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The Independent Online
John Bentley, the Lions winger, will miss Newcastle's first three matches of the new season, including the Allied Dunbar Premiership opener against Bath.

Bentley, whose absence will be inevitable because of his commitment to the Halifax Blue Sox rugby league club, 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.

He will also miss Newcastle's training week in France and the game against Agen early next month, after returning to Halifax for their World Club Championship match against Canberra Raiders.

"I do want to play for the Falcons and I will be back on September 1, provided everything is sorted out," Bentley said.

Meanwhile, Matt Long, the Newcastle prop who played four games last season, has signed for Worcester.