Bristol and Narbonne in fixture chaos

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The Independent Online
Bristol have fallen foul of European Conference organisers over a French fixture farce. Unless the First Division club entertain Narbonne on Saturday - instead of Sunday as planned - then tournament officials will award both points to their visitors.

The news, which arrived in a letter from the Conference's Dublin headquarters yesterday, has stunned Bristol, who claim they are in an impossible position.

"We cannot stage the game on Saturday, because Bristol Rovers, who share our ground, are playing a Second Division match against Blackpool," the club's general manager, Dave Tyler, said. "Saturday night is also a non- starter because the ground couldn't possibly be prepared in time after the football. The Sunday date was arranged weeks ago after we explained the ground-share situation to Narbonne."

Martin Offiah will make his debut for Bedford on Saturday - less than two weeks after specialists feared a toe injury could wreck his season.

The 29-year-old former Wigan winger has passed a full fitness test, and specialists will let Offiah play in the Second Division home game against Rotherham.

Another player who has overcome injury and returns on Saturday is Michael Lynagh. The world record points-scorer, who was injured playing only his second match for Saracens, makes his comeback against Cambridge University.

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