With a little luck, China could make a lasting impression on their debut appearance at the Hong Kong Sevens. This is the expert view of Mike Francis, the man who has been preparing China for their grand entry onto the world sevens stage. Assigned by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) to help China prepare for the Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong Sevens, Francis is hopeful that nerves and jitters will take a back seat and that the Chinese could quickly find their feet. 'A few people will be surprised at how the Chinese go. If they have a little bit of luck and play to their potential, they will impress a few people,' said Francis. The former Hong Kong captain, a talented threequarter in his heyday, has for the past month or more been going to Guangzhou every weekend to impart his many years of experience and knowledge. 'A few hints here, a few tips there, nothing more,' says Francis modestly. 'I don't think my being there will work any miracles, but I hope it all comes good this weekend for China.' The HKRFU is keen that China do well. It has everything to gain if Chinese rugby catches the eye at the Hong Kong Stadium this weekend. The advantages are manifold, not the least of which is that the HKRFU could proudly show to the Hong Kong public that the Chinese can indeed play rugby. This has been the main reason behind the HKRFU's bid to get mainland Chinese teams involved in the local leagues this past season. This has been partly successful, with Hong Kong Second Division teams going to Shenzhen to play against the PLA Sports Institute, who are based in Guangzhou. But the fullest benefits will accrue only when the mainland teams start arriving to play in Hong Kong on a regular basis. 'At the moment we are not exposing the Chinese mainland sides to the Hong Kong public because we can't get visas. But if that problem is solved, then the way forward is open,' said Clement Lau, HKRFU secretary. So, for the moment, the Chinese national team will be carrying the flag. They are the symbol of rugby - that rugby can be played by the Chinese. The HKRFU will hope that the glare of publicity during the Hong Kong Sevens will fall mostly on them. That plan has succeeded so far. When China arrived on Tuesday, a full battalion of Chinese media, television and print, were on hand at the Hung Hom railway station to greet them. The Chinese newspapers have been carrying reports about rugby this past week in their sports pages. And they will continue to follow China's progress at the tournament. All grist to the public mill. The more the Hong Kong public are aware that not only gweilos play rugby, the better for the HKRFU's ambitions to spread the game locally. China thus carry a big burden into the tournament. 'They are being thrown right into the deep end. It is a big step on to the international stage,' said Lau. And the man who has been working behind the scenes, preparing China for this day, will be anxiously watching from the touchlines. 'If they can relax, concentrate, remain organised and put in their tackles, they will do well,' said Francis. 'Their basics are quite good and they are very fit. If they have the confidence and believe in themselves, it will be alright,' he added.