SCOTLAND winger Derek Stark will fulfil one of his life's ambitions by playing in the Hongkong Sevens today - but a year too late. The 26-year-old Boroughmuir speedster was invited to play for the Barbarians last season but he suffered a painful back injury in a match against Kelso on the Saturday before he was due to leave Britain for Hongkong. Although he contacted the Barbarians' team manager, Geoff Windsor-Lewis, to report his injury, he was encouraged to board the flight and have physiotherapy treatment in Hongkong in the hope of being fit for the Sevens. After two days of treatment in Hongkong, however, it was clear he would not make it, so the Barbarians replaced him in the squad with Northampton's Harvey Thorneycroft, who had been playing in the 10s. But now Stark is back and means business with a Scotland side determined to put on a better show than when they first appeared in the Sevens two years ago. Looking back on last year's events, Scotland left-winger Stark said: ''It was quite annoying because I had really been looking forward to playing in the Sevens. ''I was asked to join the Barbarians two weeks before the Sevens but two days before I was due to fly out I got my back put out in a tackle against Kelso. ''I phoned Geoff Windsor-Lewis to say there was no way I would be fit because I was having spasms in my back. It turned out to be displaced vertebrae and, after a couple of physio sessions in Hongkong, there was no point carrying on because the spasms were getting worse. ''The one consolation in not playing was that I was able to soak up the atmosphere. I had done most of the sevens circuit such as Monte Carlo but, like many other players, it was an ambition to play in Hongkong.'' And anyone with a copy of The Rugby Union Who's Who reference book will vouch for Stark's sincerity because in his profile he describes his best moment in rugby as ''going to the Hongkong Sevens with the Barbarians'' - and his worst moment as ''not playing in the above tournament due to injury''. Scotland have developed a side of sevens specialists which won the Dubai international tournament last year and they have arrived in Hongkong via Canberra and Fiji on a tour lasting three-and-a-half weeks and building up to the first World Cup Sevens at Murrayfield next month. ''John Jeffrey is with us coaching and he thought the standard of sevens rugby in Fiji was by far the highest he had ever seen; it was unbelievable,'' added Stark. ''For us it's a good learning process because there are a lot of young boys in the squad aged 19 or 20. ''The results haven't gone too well in Canberra and Fiji but I think they will start to come as we develop as a team. ''We were made the top seeds for Canberra after winning the Dubai Sevens and I think that was expecting too much. Now we have found our level and we hope to win our group and then see what happens on the second day. ''After Hongkong we have another two tournaments when we get home, in Gala and Melrose, before the World Cup Sevens, so we can work on a few more things.'' Although the Scotland squad to challenge for the first World Cup Sevens on home soil has not been finalised, Stark said it would be based largely on the touring party, although the likes of Rob Wainwright and Gary Armstrong might come into the reckoning. The squad includes a mixture of established internationals - Melrose lock or number eight Doddie Weir, Hawick flanker Derek Turnbull and wing pair Stark and Tony Stanger, from Hawick, for example - and some up-and-coming youngsters led by the highly ratedGregor Townsend. The 19-year-old Gala stand-off, who played for the Irish Wolfhounds at last year's Sevens but injured his ribs in the process, is tipped to have a bright future at international level. After representing Scotland at Under 21 and B level, he made his senior debut in the recent Calcutta Cup defeat by England at Twickenham as a replacement for injured stand-off Craig Chalmers. When next year's Rugby Union Who's Who appears, Stark's best moment in rugby will be his try-scoring debut for Scotland in the Five Nations Championship at Murrayfield in January. But Hongkong remains special for Stark. ''It's a great week because you can see guys you play against throughout the season and then others you haven't seen for a year or two.'' And Stark said the preparation had been much more professional than in 1991, when Scotland's performances were so poor they made a public apology to their hundreds of expatriate fans after being thrashed by Canada in the Cup quarter-finals. ''It is very important we play well this time,'' added Stark. ''There has not been the same build-up visiting all the pubs.''