SOMEONE will be watching over you - that was the message national coach George Simpkin imparted to aspiring members of the Hong Kong squad at the national trials on Tuesday night. A large squad, around 40, for next year's Pan-Pacific Series will be announced today by Simpkin. But having to work around the existing framework of the league, he has been forced to appoint assessors (Peter Duncan is one) who will help him keep a close watch on players' fitness and commitment. Simpkin, normally a loner when it comes to working with the Hong Kong squad, has moved away from past practices when he told a large assembly of players invited to take part in the trials that assessors would be watching their progress during the remaining weeks of the league. 'I have to use this system of watching the players because the present format of the First Division does not provide tough competition for the players,' explained Simpkin. 'It will be an added incentive now for the selected players to play well if they know their form and fitness are being monitored,' added Simpkin. The 11-team, split-strength First Division, while providing closer games, has resulted in rugby of a lower standard for the territory's top rugby players. To make certain that they are pulling their weight, Simpkin has implemented this new scheme. 'On the other hand, this league has given players who would otherwise have never had a chance to make an impression to come to the fore,' said Simpkin. In the context of the Pan-Pacific Series, however, the lack of high-pressure games week in week out, will prove detrimental to Hong Kong. So Simpkin has set in place a tough fitness, form, and skills programme and is hoping that the individual player will be able to lift his game - more on their own than within a team network. Simpkin also appears to have relented on his decree that players will have to put in a minimum 14 hours a week to be considered for the eight-team Pan-Pac Series. Apparently the feedback of the playing community was mostly negative to the time commitment. Simpkin has now relaxed his approach, telling the players that as long as their weekly form assessments match his expectations, it will be up to their discretion as to how many training hours they put in weekly. On the game plan, Hong Kong will want to play fast and expansively, with the game revolving around rucking. Continuity will be the theme. The trials progressed as such, with the action fast and furious, and as open as possible. First impressions reveal that Hong Kong's back division is healthy. It seems that the territory will have a new combination in midfield with Hong Kong captain Rodney McIntosh pairing off with newcomer Moape Ravuvu. The backline could be the halves combination of Stephen Kidd and Robin Bredbury, Rod and Mo at centre, Isi Tu'ivai and Ashley Billington on the wings and Vaughan Going at full-back. With Martin Robertson, Warren Warner, Jeff Piper, Mark Solomon, Rob Santos, Keith Gauntlett, Mark Hurlstone, David Wigley (to name a few) providing the support service, Hong Kong's back division looks okay. The worry is the forwards, especially the tight five. We lack huge locks or an imposing front row. Hong Kong will miss players like prop Ashley Jones (left Hong Kong) and Roger Patterson (if he is unable to find the time due to work). The territory's first big test comes when they take on South Korea in two Tests at home in February. Hong Kong must be able to put up a commanding performance against the Koreans. If they do so, that will be a right step in the direction of being competitive at the Pan-Pac which is scheduled to start on April 20 with a home game against Argentina.