Last week's win over Glasgow Caledonian Reds having put them in pole position, Edinburgh Reivers know that another successful revenge mission against Cross Keys tomorrow could put them on course for Scotland's top seeding in Europe next season.

So far in this Welsh/Scottish League campaign, the competition's bottom side have claimed only a single victory, which to Scottish rugby's acute embarrassment, happened when the Reivers visited them earlier this year.

''I think it is fair to say that was our low point of the entire season,'' said Ian Rankin, the Reivers manager.

''The players have had a lot of meetings among themselves this week and they have focused on not giving Cross Keys a chance.

''The last time we played them they never had the ball for the first 25 minutes, but we didn't score and you could see their confidence grow from that.''

A large part of the problem that day was the Reivers' failure to kick early penalties to offer themselves a platform.

''We had so much of the ball that the feeling was that it was only a matter of time at that stage, but we should have learned from that,'' said Rankin.

Certainly, there was evidence last week that the side have learned a great deal from the Welsh side's ability to absorb an early pummelling while maintaining their morale.

Reivers went 18-3 behind in the early stages against Glasgow Caledonian Reds yet battled back to claim what may yet prove to have been a vital win.

Consequently, it seems a wise decision to have stuck with the same XV even though more options were available.

In particular, the selection at tighthead prop of Craig Smith, a dynamic individual in the loose who is still very much learning his trade in the front row, rather than fit-again internationalist Barry Stewart, is designed to build on that Hughenden performance.

''Barry got the all-clear from the doctor, but we felt that having been toasted by Dave Hilton in the first 15 minutes last week, Craig survived and came on strong so has gained a lot of confidence from that,'' said Rankin.

''That really applies to the entire team. They weathered a storm and gained an important win.''

They will also feel that they have an advantage on what promises to be an excellent Myreside pitch, barring severe overnight weather.

Having, on a similar surface, beaten a Reds team which is designed for such conditions, that should provide the Reivers with an extra edge against Cross Keys, who were aided substantially in the sides' previous meeting by one of many swamps which masquerade as rugby pitches in Wales.

That the team remains unchanged does, meanwhile, also reflect the fact that the normally spring-heeled Iain Fullarton has not managed to shake off an ankle injury, thereby leaving the team slightly exposed in the lineout.

Don Mackinnon, the flanker and team captain, has consequently been asked to play as an emergency second row forward.

''We've had another week for Don and Richard Metcalfe to work together,'' Rankin said of the pair who were European Cup winners together with Northampton last season, but are very much a new partnership in the Reivers boilerhouse.

''They offer a fair punch in the scrums, but we have had to give the lineout a fair bit of thought,'' the manager admitted.

Rankin knows that no matter what happens in Newport today when the Reds visit the league's second placed side, tomorrow's is a must-win match for his men.

''The Reds have always had a few games in hand on us and they are quite capable of going to get a result. However, we are ahead of them now and at this stage of the season we would rather have the points on the board.

''We know we have only ourselves to blame for being in the lower half of the table because of those defeats at Cross Keys and Ebbw Vale.

''However, there is nothing in this league and it has been difficult that even when we have put together a couple of wins we haven't really moved much in the table.

''All the sides above us now have to play one another so we would like to think we can make some progress.'' Teams:

Edinburgh Reivers -C Paterson; C Murray, M Di Rollo, D Officer, C Sharman; D Hodge, G Burns; A Jacobsen, S Scott, C Smith, R Metcalfe, D Mackinnon, M Leslie, G Dall, S Taylor. Replacements; P Robertson, B Stewart, A Dall, M Taylor, I Fairley, G Ross, K Utterson

Cross Keys - C Bushell; C Arnoki, G Bowen, A Price or M McCarthy, S Crane; S Bai, C Ellis; J Rogers, L Gardner, M Jones, D Davis, N Kelly, A Howarth, C Brown, R Williams. Replacements: K McDonald, T Walsh, S Reed, I Evans, K Stewart, D Crimmins, G Stroud.