HONG KONG will be treated as a special case for next year's Asian Rugby Football Tournament (ARFT) in Taiwan which will be restricted to nationals of the seven other competing countries for the first time. The Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) agreed at a meeting yesterday that only home-grown players can compete except for Hong Kong where a one year residency rule applies. 'This is good news for Hong Kong,' said Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman Stuart Leckie. 'It means that players who come into Hong Kong before the end of this month can play in next year's tournament.' The change was opposed by defending champions Japan, who, at last year's ARFT in Kuala Lumpur which doubled as a World Cup qualifier, had three foreigners. Japan's Nobuyuki Takashima said: 'Our overseas players are bona fide residents of Japan and we don't want to discriminate against them.' But Malaysia and Korea strongly supported the change. Malaysia's Datuk Mohamed Zaman Khan said: 'What is the use of playing rugby at under-18 and under-19 levels if when you reach senior level you are kicked out by an overseas player?' The one year rule applied to seven countries at the 1992 ARFT with Hong Kong having a special exemption of six months. It was also decided to stick with the old one-tier format with Hong Kong, third last time, playing 1994 runners-up Korea in Group B and Taiwan meeting holders Japan in Group A.