NEIL Alton will hope his rehabilitation into the Hong Kong team begins today at the Valley 15s.
The season-opening event, to be played at the Happy Valley and Causeway Bay rugby pitches (kick-off 2 pm), will be Alton's comeback to competitive rugby since he was suspended last month.
Alton was given a four-game ban by the disciplinary committee of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union after he was involved in an altercation at the Summer Sevens tournament in July.
The ban resulted in Alton missing out on Hong Kong's Asian Rugby Football Tournament build-up tour of South Africa and Namibia.
Now the Valley lock forward hopes to put all that behind him and concentrate on the immediate task at hand - regaining his place in the Hong Kong second row.
'It is going to be hard. I'm short of match-fitness. The current tempo of the squad is very high,' said Alton, who got back to training with the national squad on Wednesday.
Home alone while Hong Kong were at play, Alton, however, has kept to a rigorous fitness schedule.
Alton will be part of the Valley outfit who will be defending their title today. Valley have been grouped with Kowloon II, Club Vandals and Nomads in one of four preliminary groups.
Apart from getting the season off to a good start, the winners of this tournament will have the additional incentive of taking home a purse of $5,000 which organisers Valley have put forward. This will be matched by the Union.
Valley 15s preliminary round: Pool A - Valley, Kowloon II, Vandals, Nomads. Pool B - Police, Club Dragons, Valley Mustangs, Rams. Pool C - Club, Aberdeen, Tigers, Gai Wu II. Pool D - Kowloon, Valley Knights, Gai Wu I, Flying Kukris.