Big hitters return to sevens squad ahead of Singapore showdown

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2007, 12:00am

Captain Nigel D'Acre and leading duo Jeff Wong and Alex Zenovic will make a welcome return to the Hong Kong sevens squad who leave today to play in the Singapore Cricket Club Sevens this weekend.

D'Acre and company have not been part of the sevens programme so far this season. While their absence has not been missed - Hong Kong winning tournaments in Kuala Lumpur and Kandy - the Singapore event will be a step up and coach Rodney McIntosh will welcome the return of his regulars.

'It will be good to have Nigel and the other guys back in the team. They didn't play in the first two tournaments which we won. But I expect this to be much harder as the opposition will be better than what we have faced so far,' McIntosh said.

Hong Kong won the Jonah Jones Sevens - a club tournament in Malaysia - as well as the all-Asian Sri Lanka Sevens last month, where they defeated arch-rivals South Korea in the final.

The quality of opponents they will face in Singapore will be slightly higher with the Kenyan national team - regulars in the IRB Series - and top sides from Fiji (Davetelavu), New Zealand (Ponsonby) and South Africa expected to take part.

'The Singapore Sevens is a very important tournament because many of the premier club sevens teams in the world take part. These are strong teams with international players. It is a good tournament and the competition will be very high,' said McIntosh.

Last year Hong Kong reached the semi-finals and McIntosh will be hoping his squad will be able to emulate, if not better, that feat. But Hong Kong will be missing the exuberant Keith Robertson - player of the event last year - as he is studying overseas, as well as the injured Ricky Cheuk Ming-yin.