Young Hong Kong scrum-half takes centre stage against Kazakhstan
Young scrum-half Cado Lee will be the centre of attention as the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union takes the HSBC Asian Five Nations Top Five encounter against Kazakhstan into the 'heart of Kowloon and the local population' tomorrow.
Lee, 20, made his first start in the A5N last Saturday in Tokyo against a rampant Japan. He will have more opportunities to show his skills with ball in hand against bottom-placed Kazakhstan, who are on the verge of being relegated from the elite competition. 'It was a bit of a baptism of fire for Cado against Japan but he did well. We felt he earned the opportunity to have a run-out at home in a game where we expect him to have a bit more ball to play with,' said Hong Kong coach Dai Rees, who is also the HKRFU's head of performance.
Kowloon scrumhalf Lee and winger Salom Yiu Kam-shing - in the starting line-up along with substitute prop Alex Ng Wai-shing - will present the local face of rugby as Mong Kok Stadium hosts an international for the first time in 13 years.
'We are hoping that the local community, and all of the great support we get at Hong Kong Football Club, will come to the game and that we will be able to attract new audiences as we will be in the heart of Kowloon and in the heart of the local population,' Rees said.
And leading the way will be Lee, who partnered Keith Robertson in Tokyo. Robertson will miss out after failing a fitness test on the knee he injured against Japan. Mike Glancy will replace him as pivot alongside Lee. Open-side flanker Mark Goosen will replace Mark Wright in the starting line-up, while Alex McQueen comes in for Ross Armour, who has been banned for two matches after being cited against Japan. In the only other change in the backs, Ally Maclay replaces Anthony Haynes in midfield.
Ng will come in for Stephen Bennett on the bench.
Kazakhstan are winless after three games and Rees warned they would be a cornered animal with the fate of a Top Five slot next season in the balance. 'If we beat Kazakhstan and they are relegated we will be the only team outside of Japan to stay in the Top Five since the inception of the A5N in 2008. This is a testament to the structures that both Japan and Hong Kong have in place. But we know enough to not take Kazakhstan lightly. They need a win to avoid relegation, which is effectively two years in the wilderness before you can reach the Top Five again. So they are a wounded animal and will play like one. They are playing for their lives.'