It is perhaps ominous that on the eve of today's international against Singapore, authorities of this city state decided to lift a 12-year ban on chewing gum. Does this herald a sticky end to Hong Kong's hopes of keeping their slate clean against these Asian minnows? The nature of the game has already come unstuck. What was deemed to be a 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifying match - China being the other team in this preliminary round - is not so, according to officials. In a last-minute change, the International Rugby Board (IRB) went back on its original schedule and decided that the Asian Zone qualifiers would start next year. 'We only heard about this at last weekend's Asian Rugby Football Union council meeting in Kazakhstan. But these games are still important in the World Cup context as the seedings for Asia will be done on these results. The IRB may have changed the qualifying schedule, but for the players, what matters is to go out there and win,' said Allan Payne, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union executive director, who was at the meeting in Almaty. 'It doesn't make any difference to us for our goal is to win every time we go out on the paddock,' said Hong Kong captain Lachlin Miller. Hong Kong should boost their ratings in Asia today. Still, one cannot easily dismiss the Singaporeans. They are no more of the class of 1994, when Hong Kong posted the world record score of 164-13 at the Asian Championships. Former Valley flier Ashley Billington's 10 tries is another world record. 'I don't think you will see that happen,' laughed Miller. The only time he played against Singapore, in 2002, Hong Kong scraped to a 10-3 victory. Unlike the 1994 team of professionals, the 30-year-old Valley lock forward is in charge of a mixed team of budding Chinese still being groomed and a core of hardcore 'expatriates' who are qualified under the IRB's three-year residency rule. In recent years, Singapore have made huge strides while Hong Kong have seen standards fall. In the Triangular Series in 1999 and 2001, Hong Kong, coached by Phil Campbell, won 25-5 and 26-8 respectively. Then in 2002, Hong Kong scored a massive 57-8 victory fielding a full-strength side including players like Chris Gordon (now retired) and others who were unavailable for this match like Warren Warner, Carl Murray and Paul Dingley. But the most worrying result came the last time these two teams met when Hong Kong scraped to a 10-3 victory. Hong Kong struggled on that occasion in the set pieces and if they do the same today at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium, they can kiss goodbye to boosting their seeding. 'Our scrums are solid. This is one of the best packs Hong Kong have had in years. If our lineout is executed properly, I don't think we should have any problems,' predicted Miller, confident that a sticky end will not be on the cards today. HONG KONG 1-Pete Spizzirri, 2-Tom Cameron, 3-Michael Russell, 4-Lachlin Miller (captain), 5-James Wood, 6-Kelvin Yip Kwok-ho, 7-Tim O'Connor, 8-Justin Gregory, 9-Rob Naylor, 10-Ben Harris, 11-Simon Hague, 12-Brett Forsyth, 13-Jason Going, 14-Chan Fuk-ping, 15-Andrew Chambers. Replacements: 16-Chung Chun-sang, 17-Leung Ming-hong, 18-Paul Chung Pui-wah, 19-Richard Draycott, 20-Andrew Wong Kee, 21-Lee Cheuk-yin, 22-Rowan Varty.