Winger Charlie Higson-Smith set to debut for Hong Kong against South Korea
Hong Kong are set to unveil their newest attack weapon – 1.89-metre, 100kg winger Charlie Higson-Smith – in their Asia Rugby Championship opener against South Korea on Saturday.
Higson-Smith will start on the bench, but is expected to earn his first test cap quickly as Hong Kong seek a winning start to the competition, which also includes seven-time Asian Five Nations champions Japan.
"He is a bit of a bolter and may be a surprise name in the squad but Charlie is reaping the rewards for an impressive Premiership season," said Hong Kong head coach Andy Hall.
Hong Kong-born Higson-Smith, who has returned after studying at university in the UK, caught Hall's eye in the recent game against the New Zealand Super Rugby Chiefs development team as well as at training.
"Charlie brings a lot to the table and if he gets loose on the wing he can pose problems," Hall said.
Higson-Smith will have to wait for his chance, with regular wingers Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Tom McQueen picked for the starting line-up and Alex McQueen at fullback.
Defence will be key with the South Korean backs certain to pose a danger, as proved last week when they gave Japan a few concerns in losing 56-30.
"Max [Woodward] and Tyler will have a big role to play in shutting down the Koreans in midfield," Hall said.
With the tournament format being changed to a home-and-away competition, Hall believes the extended squad of 34 players will all have a role to play at some stage.
"This new format will be challenging. In the past we only played one match against Japan or Korea, but now we will have to manage a more physical toll," Hall said.