Super Saturday action may sideline players ahead of Sevens Series in India
Hong Kong's shaky hold on its sevens crown will face a severe test at home on Saturday before the third leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series gets under way in Mumbai, India, next weekend.
Having narrowly lost both the two opening legs in Malaysia and Thailand last month to Japan, Hong Kong know they have to win the remaining two legs if they are to keep their title. But Super Saturday - the start of the local league - at King's Park might present a formidable first-up challenge for head coach Dai Rees, even before he can contemplate how to break Japan's stranglehold this season.
"We have to contend with Super Saturday first. The majority of the sevens squad will be in action for their clubs this Saturday and hopefully they will all emerge unscathed," Rees said. "I asked the clubs to recognise the fact that the national squad will be in action next weekend in India and hopefully they will help.
"But we cannot ask the clubs not to pick their best players, especially on the opening day of the league. However, it will be good if the coaches are cognisant to our needs and take off the players if their teams are in a winning position," Rees said.
In a bid to lift the profile of the Premiership, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union has introduced the Super Saturday idea where all six teams in the elite division play at the same venue.
Last season's Grand Championship winners, WhichWay Valley, have a number of their sevens stars in action, including Nick Hewson, Ben Rimene, Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Lee Jones.
Hong Kong's must-win campaign in India will face a tricky start with Malaysia and China in the pool competition.
Hong Kong lost 14-10 to Japan in the first leg and then 17-12 to the same opponents in the second leg. Japan have a maximum 24 points from the two tournaments, while Hong Kong have 22.
"We have to finish in the top two in the overall standings at the end of the series to book our place at the Hong Kong Sevens," Rees added.