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RUGBY: UPDATE; New Year selection headache for Reivers.

EDINBURGH REIVERS chiefs have admitted they are suffering from a selection headache in the build-up to Friday's crucial Celtic League clash with star-studded Newport.

On one hand, they are tempted to stick with the midfield formation that has served them well over the past few weeks.

But on the other, they have to prepare for the even more important Heineken Cup showdown against Leinster in Dublin a week later.

Manager Ian Rankin said: "Marcus Di Rollo in particular has performed superbly at centre but he is not eligible for the remaining Heineken group matches.

"After last week's match against Glasgow Caley was postponed, this is our only chance to try out the back-line combinations for Donnybrook.

"It is a frustrating situation but it's nice to have the likes of Kevin Utterson, Graham Shiel and David Officer at our disposal."

Squad spokesman Ian Paterson assured Reivers fans the Newport game will go ahead at either Murrayfield or Myreside.

He said: "The Myreside pitch, our preferred venue, is hard in places, but it is playable."

ATHLETICS:Heat winners Alan Crawford and James Cunningham have cancelled holidays to USA and Australia respectively to take part in today's pounds 6000 New Year sprint finals at Musselburgh Racecourse after they were postponed last Thursday. Racing conditions will be heavy or soft.

ICE HOCKEY:Angry fans yesterday stepped up their bid to save rock- bottom Paisley Pirates.

Worried supporters' club chiefs were in direct touch by phone with English-based British National League general manager Gary Stefan.

And the former player underlined his pledge to come north as soon as possible for face-to-face talks between Pirates one remaining director, Alan Smith, and the frustrated fans who want him out.

Lex Shields, long-time chairman of Pirates main backers, the supporters' club, said: "I've talked at length with Stefan and other league officials today and we're doing all we can to save this club."

CRICKET: Spin king Shane Warne made an encouraging return after two months out with a broken finger yesterday, finishing with figures of three for 48 in an inter-State one-day match for Victoria against Western Australia.

DARTS:Eight-times winner Phil Taylor reached the final of the Skol World Championship last night with a 6-0 win over eighth seed Dave Askew.

SQUASH:Edinburgh's Pam Nimmo is celebrating her highest-ever world ranking of 16th in the latest women's lists after an excellent end to last year.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 3, 2001
Words:398
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