Are JMC Kowloon taking the mickey out of the system by fielding a front rower who has played for another First Division club? This is the question that is being asked after a fiasco emerged during the midweek game against the PLA Sports Institute, which Kowloon won 22-3. Kowloon had fielded Hong Kong international and Hong Kong Football Club hooker Alan Clark in the front row. Although the Chinese Army team had duly completed their obligations on the field, they have now submitted a protest to the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) at Kowloon's tactics. In defence of Kowloon, it can be said that they have stayed within the boundaries of the HKRFU rule book. Apparently Kowloon have registered Clark as a member with the HKRFU. A bystander might interject with the poser as to how Clark can be registered with two different clubs - Kowloon and Football Club. Funnily enough this is allowed by the HKRFU. It all began a couple of seasons ago when Valley scrumhalf Robin Bredbury was coaching Gai Wu. He played for them too and the HKRFU allowed this as they felt it would be unfair towards Bredbury if they barred him from playing at a higher level just because he was coaching Gai Wu. This allowance has now been taken a step further by Kowloon. Facing a shortage of front-row players, they asked Clark to fill in for them against the PLA. They knew that if they failed to start the game without a front row, they would have been forced to concede the points to the PLA if the referee had opted for a no-push scrum in the interests of safety. So Clark played the role of saviour. But is this really fair to the PLA? The Guangzhou-based team are actually guests of the HKRFU. They have gladly accepted the opportunity of playing in Hong Kong's First Division as they know this is the only way they can fast-track their development. Looking at this way, Clark's presence in the front row gave them the opportunity to come up against a push scrum. But the question here is whether it was fair play? I don't think so. The PLA did not lose fair and square. They have a full complement of front rowers - most of them still only in their teens. It was left to Kowloon to match them and sadly they had to do this by borrowing players. The First Division clubs get a monthly stipend of around $20,000 from the HKRFU. They thus have an obligation to field a team. But is that obligation being met fairly? Or are clubs bending the rules to suit them? The HKRFU should change the rules to prevent a player playing for two different clubs in the same division. We are sympathetic towards the problems sides like Kowloon and Aberdeen are having in the front row. But they should not be allowed to abuse a system which was mainly put in place to help the grassroots clubs.