Betrayed! This is the anguished cry from SAR captain Jamie Bouloux who has been told by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) he is not eligible to play at the IRB-FIRA Under-19 World Championship in France this April. Bouloux, who led Hong Kong to a fourth-placed finish at the Asian Under-19 Championship held here earlier this month, and at least four other players have been informed they do not qualify under the three-year eligibility requirements of the International Rugby Board's (IRB) or because they are too young. The other players whose World Championship eligibility is under question are forward William Davies and backs James Lewis, Rowan Varty and Brendan Wayburne. The latter two are only 16. 'We were told the only requirement was to be under 19. Now we are told we are not eligible. We feel betrayed by the union,' said Bouloux. Rugby achieved a Hong Kong sporting landmark when the Under-19s became the first team to play their way into a World Championship. Lock Bouloux, who has been in Hong Kong for only two years, played a prominent role in the team's campaign. But now his dreams are over. In a letter to HKRFU executive director Allan Payne, Bouloux pours his heart out and has begged the union to intervene with the IRB. 'I do not have to tell you how I feel about not going to the World Cup. I can imagine that you can do that for me. However, it is more the betrayal that leaves such anger in my thoughts,' said Bouloux. 'For the past few months I have poured my best and hardest rugby on to a field of dreams, with the aim of making an international rugby team: a dream shared by most who play the sport. 'It had been promised that if we qualified for the World Cup we only had to be under 19 to play, a question not only asked by the players but also coaching staff and manager. We were all assured the same answer by members of the union. When the tragic news was relayed to me, I had no idea how to react. It felt like some sick joke was being played on me.' Hong Kong head coach Terry Hart had the awful task of informing Bouloux of his ineligibility. 'I spoke to him on Wednesday. His ultimate dream has been taken away from him. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He must be crushed. This is not a satisfactory situation to put it mildly. It disrupts all our plans,' Hart said. The HKRFU said it had taken up the matter. 'We share the anguish of the players. We have asked the Asian Rugby Football Union [ARFU] to speak to the IRB,' said Payne. There was no question of Hong Kong fielding ineligible players at the Asian Championship. ARFU secretary general Jamie Scott said the tournament was not played under IRB rules as it was not a qualifying event per se for the World Championship. 'The World Championship is an invitation tournament.There was no need to play our tournament under IRB rules. The only qualification needed was to be under 19 to play at the Asian Championship.' The HKRFU had believed this same eligibility ruling applied to the World Championship. Even the IRB's eligibility requirements - three years continuous residency, or qualifying by birth or grandparents - only applies to a union's senior 15s team, the next most senior 15s team and the national sevens team. Hong Kong's under-19 set-up is by no means 'the next most senior team' in the local pyramid. 'Our interpretation of the IRB's three year rules is that it only applies to the senior and next most senior 15s squads. There is room for appeal,' added Payne.