Former sevens skipper Simon Leung out to regain his place
The former skipper is eager to make an impact at the Spur Sevens in Zimbabwe and boost his hopes of being picked for the Hong Kong event
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Former sevens captain Simon Leung Ho-yam aims to seize a "fantastic opportunity" in Zimbabwe this week and win back his place in the squad.
"I get my chance to win back my place in the team this weekend," said Leung. "This is a fantastic opportunity to put my name in the mix for what will be a very important few months for Hong Kong rugby."
Leung, making his first visit to Africa, is part of a 14-strong squad leaving tonight to take part in the Spur Sevens in Harare, which will be the only competitive build-up before the final 12-man squad are named for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from March 22-24.
The Leighton Asia HKCC No 8 is making a comeback after missing most of last season because of personal issues and is looking at sealing his place with Hong Kong facing two key tournaments - the London Sevens in May, which is a qualifying tournament for core team status next season, and the World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.
Leung turns 32 next month and he is aware this could well be his last chance to play in a World Cup. And he also wants to be in the mix for Hong Kong and London as the team bid to win a berth among the big boys in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
He last played sevens for the national squad in Borneo last year and his last Hong Kong Sevens appearance was in 2011. But then life and death conspired to put an end to his exploits on the field. The birth of his daughter in 2011 took the focus away from the game and then last summer, when he was just coming to grips with the new addition, both his grandfathers passed away.
"I'm in better shape [mentally] now than at the same time last year and this being a massive year for sevens I hope to win back my place in the squad," Leung (pictured) said. "It would be fantastic to play at the World Cup in Moscow. Four years ago, I was just on the fringes of the squad when we qualified to play in Dubai.
"It is going to be tough but I have been training hard. I hope I can cement my place in the team," he said.
While Leung has been absent, the team have gone on to be crowned Asian sevens champions. He will have his hands full competing for a place in the forwards against the likes of Nick Hewson, Eni Gesinde, Anthony Haynes, Kwok Ka-chun and Lee Jones. Gesinde is unavailable for the African adventure.
The rest of the squad comprise captain Rowan Varty, Tsang Hing-hung, Jamie Hood, Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Alex McQueen, Tom McQueen, Cado Lee Ka-to, Ben Rimene and Fan Shun-kei.
Hong Kong will meet the Zimbabwe Warriors and Kenya on Saturday and are guaranteed three games on the Sunday, likely against top South African provincial teams.
"The Harare tournament offers us an ideal opportunity to hopefully hit our peak ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens," said national sevens coach Dai Rees.