Hong Kong scrum half Cado Lee joins Max Woodward in Japan’s Top League
The 25-year-old’s move to the NEC Green Rockets leaves a big hole in Paul John’s squad for the upcoming Asia Rugby Sevens Series
Hong Kong scrum half Cado Lee Ka-to has followed former captain Max Woodward to Japan’s Top League, with sevens coach Paul John philosophical about losing another of his top players.
Lee, 25, has joined the Abiko-based NEC Green Rockets on a one-year deal, with the season kicking off next weekend.
The pair’s departure leaves a big hole in Hong Kong’s squad for the upcoming Asia Rugby Sevens Series, which doubles as qualifying for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“Hopefully he will be returning to us in January so he will have time to train with us and hopefully build up towards Hong Kong and also the Asian Games next August,” Hong Kong sevens coach John said.
“Hopefully both will be available for the Asian Games, so in the short term we lose them, but what it does is it makes us look for other players.
“It makes us widen the net to try and see what other players are available to us. In the long run, if we can increase our player base, it is going to be a good thing.”
Lee, who has also been a regular member of Hong Kong’s 15s side, is looking to use the move to better himself, with the Green Rockets in the search of a scrum half with an Asian passport.
“The reason I decided to go to Japan was to challenge myself and see how far I can go, because I know the Top League standard is much higher [than the Hong Kong Premiership] and I’m sure I can learn and improve myself,” he said.
“I’m hoping to work hard throughout the season in Japan and just learn as much as I can and hopefully bring something back.”
Lee took part in a recent two-week summer camp with the team and has been selected for Friday’s training match against the Canon Eagles.
Lee is looking forward to resuming his Hong Kong career once the Top League season is over, with the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and 15s World Cup qualifying his primary targets.
Lee has leant on Woodward and Hong Kong teammate Jamie Hood – who played for the Ricoh Black Rams last season – for advice and knows he will have to push himself harder than ever before.
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“They said it is going to be tough and I just have to constantly work hard,” Lee said. “I have been here for about three weeks now with the camp and before and after every training a lot of players are working on their own thing.
“They work hard and they never seem to stop, you have to be relentless. Next year is the 15s World Cup qualifiers, so this should definitely help me for that.”