Midfield general Rodney McIntosh and trusty lieutenant Carl Murray are the glaring absentees in the Hong Kong squad to play in next month's Asian Championships in Japan. No, coach Phil Campbell has not dropped the two long-serving players, but circumstances have robbed him of their vital presence in the SAR squad which will take on Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the biennial tussle for Asian supremacy. Those circumstances mainly revolve around injury and work commitments. But with the 2001 World Cup Sevens in Argentina coming up in January, it is thought that McIntosh and Murray will be focusing their minds on sevens rugby. 'Possibly that could be the case, although there is no real indication that it is so. Rodney is injured and Carl can't get time off work. It is disappointing that they will not be there. But it is something I cannot dwell on,' said Campbell. McIntosh, who tore a tendon in his right shoulder playing against Singapore earlier this month, said he was disappointed at not being able to regain fitness. 'At the moment I don't know if I have to undergo surgery or just leave it to recover. It would have been my fourth Asian Championships. I will now focus on the sevens season next year . . . especially on the World Cup Sevens,' said McIntosh, who is also the assistant sevens coach. McIntosh and Murray will be badly missed. McIntosh has had a superb season in his role as a barrelling centre for league champions Valley and Hong Kong while teammate Murray, who has been in Hong Kong since the mid-1990s, was equally influential at the pivotal flyhalf position. The duo's absence will weaken Hong Kong. The onus is now on Football Club's David Wigley to fill the shoes of Murray. Campbell will also have to do some serious thinking as to how he will patch up the midfield defence and who will take on the role of visionary in the backs. With hosts the Japanese RFU urging unions to nominate their squads before the end of this month, Campbell, who is grappling with injuries, was left with no choice but to name an enlarged squad of 28 yesterday. A maximum of 25 players can go to the Japan contest. 'I will cut the squad down to the required number after our game against China in Shanghai. I expect all the players to turn up at all practices and give their utmost commitment,' said Campbell. Hong Kong will play China - it will be the mainland's first home international - on June 10 at the Waigaoqiao ground in Shanghai. There are question marks presently on the fitness of second rower Hamish Bowden and winger Chris Gordon. Hong Kong squad Matt Deayton, Glen Tracey, Mark Lloyd, Tony Wong, Rambo Leung, Roger Patterson, Chris Brooks, Paul Dingley (captain), Hamish Bowden, Justin Gregory, Will Wild, Robin Bredbury, Lee Cheuk-yin, Rob Naylor, David Wigley, Rory Dickson, Jon Clarke, Owain Morrison, Chris Gordon, Chan Fuk-ping, Mark Solomon, Matthew Reede, Bryce Dailey, Peter Choy, David Smith, Kenneth Au, Jason Going, Rick Shuttleworth.