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HK sevens squad call for Billington

SPEEDY Valley winger Ashley Billington has been handed a golden chance of playing in next month's Hongkong Sevens after being called into the territory's training squad as a last-minute replacement for injured David O'Brien.

The training squad was reduced to 13 at the weekend following the withdrawal of Mike Seigne because of a knee injury, but national coach George Simpkin was prepared to proceed without a replacement.

But Billington, who had an outstanding game for Valley in the Bell's Knockout Cup semi-final against Club on Saturday, was drafted in last night when Club's O'Brien hurt his ankle.

His call-up came at the expense of Club players Justin Weston and Keith Gauntlet who had hoped to fight their way into the squad should replacements be called upon.

Billington has been in the territory for less than a year but has already made his international debut for Hongkong, at the Dubai Sevens last November.

Before earning an appearance at the Hongkong Sevens, though, he must impress in this weekend's Singapore Sevens. Simpkin will be making assessments there to select his 10-man squad for the Canberra Sevens, on March 13, and the Hongkong tournament on March27 and 28.

Valley, Club and the Old Bill's Select squad from Police will be carrying Hongkong's colours in Singapore, the national training squad members scattered between the three club sides.

Joining Billington in the Valley line-up are Stuart Krohn and Simon Litster while Philippe Lacamp, David Bulbeck and Mark Thomas play for Club.

The Old Bill's Select have absorbed the Hongkong national team players whose clubs are not involved.

Hongkong squad: Ashley Billington, Stuart Krohn, Simon Litster, Ian Strange, Jim Walker, Geoff Piper, Craig Pain, Mathias Entenmann, Tim Leach, Steve Burton, Philippe Lacamp, David Bulbeck and Mark Thomas.