GLORY beckons again for 31-year-old Mongolia Mak Bing-keung - seven years after seeing his dreams of international honours snatched away in the cruellest of fashions. He is lined up to play at prop in what is being billed as the first true Hongkong international match - between an all-Chinese Hongkong side and the Singapore national team. And if glory sounds too grand a word for representing the Chinese Dragons team on their current tour of Malaysia and Singapore, listen to Mak. ''That's what we play rugby for. The challenge, and the glory. It's a very special feeling to be playing for Hongkong,'' says Mak, one of a large group of Chinese judo players who turned to rugby when they became disenchanted with the way local judo was being torn apart by factional disputes. For Mak, glory is long overdue. It could have come his way in 1986 when he was one of Hongkong's top medal hopes for the Asian Games in Seoul, competing in the judo at 72 kilograms. But just four weeks before the Games, he broke an ankle in training. Chong Siao-chin, who he had beaten in the trials, took his place. Chong came home with a bronze medal, a national hero. Mak was a forgotten man. After surgery and 12 months on the sidelines, Mak got back to the judo mat, but he had lost too much ground on Chong. The Hongkong Judo Association, meanwhile, was in chaos, with infighting leading to the formation of the Hongkong Judo Federation. But judo's troubles were to become rugby's gain. Players from both the association and the federation, seeking a new challenge where ambition would not be thwarted by partisan squabbles, found exactly what they were looking for. And so did rugby, with a group of tough Chinese sportsmen, and women, who relished the prospect of playing a tough sport. Five years ago, the Hongkong Rugby Union, keen to promote the game among Chinese players, advertised a beginners course. A group of 40 signed up, including eight judo players effectively in exile from their own sport by their decision to join the rebel federation. Tang Chi-wah was one of them. He is now 38, a hard-pressed businessman and has seven giant stitches in his left-knee - testament to an injury which kept him out of rugby all last year. No matter. He and Mak have made it on this year's Dragons tour and hope to play in the momentous match against Singapore next Friday. ''I've had a lot of knocks, but I love this game,'' he says. ''Exactly what we liked about rugby was that it's tough. ''In many ways it is like judo - very physical, very challenging. But it has a big plus - it's a team sport. There was never the same team spirit in judo. Everyone plays for you and you play for them. There's a strong sense of camaraderie, which continues after the game.'' Tang and his friends were converted from the beginning. And the word spread. A year later, Mak and some of his colleagues from association club South China joined them. Then four of South China's women joined, too. But more of them later. The rugby union persuaded the lads to form their own team, and the Judo Researchers Society (JRS) was born. At first they played only touch rugby, but now they are one of seven Chinese sides in the eight-team Hongkong Fourth Division. ''The union made everything so easy for us,'' says Mak, who adopted ''Mongolia'' as his Western name after his old judo colleagues decided he looked and fought like a Mongolian warrior. ''All we had to do was turn up. They provided us with pitches and equipment, arranged matches, taught us the rules and gave us coaching, and we just picked the game up.'' And how. Morgan Chubb, a Hongkong Football Club player appointed as the Dragons' assistant coach last month, says: ''Many of the Chinese players are almost flawless when it comes to technique. ''They have courage, too, and are really proud to be representing Hongkong. When we Westerners play for Hongkong, it's an honour. But let's face it, these lads are the real Hongkong team.'' And the women have accepted the challenge too. There are two Chinese women's teams, Gai Wu and DEA. Hellena Chow Man-lee, 26, girlfriend of JRS regular Fung Chi-wai, says: ''When the boys started playing, most of the girlfriends just went to watch. But it looked fun, so we tried it. ''We tried touch rugby at first but that was boring. We wanted to tackle. Tackling is great fun.'' Another enthusiast is Doris Lo Yin-ling, the bronze medallist at judo's 1986 Asian Championships who saw her international career in the sport terminated when she fell out with the association. But it is Mak who has really been rejuvenated by his new love. ''Rugby is my sport now. It's a fabulous game. It's very physical, very hard and very exciting.'' Singapore beware, the Mongolian warrior is coming.