The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will play in the Hong Kong Second Division League competition next season if ambitious plans by local rugby union officials materialise soon. The PLA made their grand entrance into Hong Kong yesterday - for the Carlsberg International 10s today and tomorrow - accompanied by the news that they could be playing competitive rugby on a weekly basis in the territory by October. A 13-strong playing party from the Chinese PLA Sports Institute in Guangzhou arrived to a hearty welcome from senior Hong Kong rugby union officials and Major-General Bryan Dutton, commander of the British Forces in the territory. Yesterday's momentous occasion had added cheer with the news that the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has invited the PLA to field a team in the territory's Second Division League next season. 'They are keen to play in an organised competition in Hong Kong. We will try our best to make this become a reality,' said George Simpkin, the Union's technical director, who has been chiefly responsible for pushing the game into China. The Union is planning to get multiple-entry visas for the PLA which would allow them to make regular visits to the territory for rugby. 'We hope they can come on a Friday, play on a Saturday and leave on Sunday, every week,' said Chiu Kwok-kwong, HKRFU senior sports executive. Stuart Leckie, HKRFU chairman, said the Union would love to see the PLA play in the domestic competition. 'I would also like to think that in 1998, a Chinese national team would be playing in the Hong Kong Sevens,' he said. 'It is a moment of history. I hope that by the turn of this century, we will hear that the PLA are on top of the First Division in Hong Kong,' said Gen Dutton, welcoming the Chinese Army at the Rugby Union Club yesterday afternoon. PLA team leader and Lieutenant-General Lu Guangmiao said he hoped that his side - all decked out in brand new rugby kit from Canterbury of New Zealand - would be ambassadors of friendship between China and Hong Kong. 'I hope that through this tournament we will improve our friendship. Our team will play in our own style and I hope we can qualify for the second round of the competition,' said Lu. A spontaneous burst of applause from appreciative rugby supporters, gathered for lunch at the Rugby Union Club in Wan Chai, greeted the overawed PLA. 'Hong Kong is certainly a pretty place,' said captain Daun Xinjun who, like the rest of his teammates, is making his first trip out of China. The team are guests of the local Union for the duration of the stay, which will include this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens. They will be staying at the Army barracks in Sek Kong. 'The British garrison has been a key part of Hong Kong society for the past century and I hope that the PLA can integrate as we have done,' said Gen Dutton. The PLA are grouped with top Fijian side Nikon Mana Magicians, British outfit BOSA Virgins and the Bucks RFC from Singapore in the preliminary competition at the Football Club-organised Carlsberg 10s.