Hong Kong head coach Leigh Jones has vowed to select his side for November's repechage on HKRU Premiership form.
South China Morning Post reports that Jones is in the process of selecting his 30-man roster for a trip to France in November where the national squad will participate in a repechage tournament for the final spot at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Hong Kong will meet Kenya Simbas, Germany and Canada in the four-team round robin tournament from Sunday, November 11.
The men’s premiership kicks off its second weekend of action this Saturday with Bloomberg HK Scottish playing Kowloon at SKM, and Sandy Bay playing Societe Generale Valley and the Tigers taking on Natixis, both at Kings Park.
Jones delivered a decisive statement in a recent Hong Kong Rugby Union press release, noting he expects some “high profile casualties” in naming his roster and that he will basically use the first five rounds of the premiership to select his squad.
He added any player who made the squad last season could be cut if they “can’t regain their form or work ethic from last season.”
“That’s the nature of professional rugby,” he added. “You can’t select players on potential or past performance, you have to go on form," as quoted by SCMP.
Only Hong Kong have appeared in the Repechage before, losing to Uruguay in the 2015 Qualifiers. On that occasion the format was two-round knock-out with Uruguay defeating Russia in a two-leg home-and-away final.
Hong Kong are the highest ranked side as of right now for the repechage at 21, followed by Canada (23rd), Kenya (28) and Germany (29).
The winner of the Repechage will join Pool B at the World Cup, where they will join Namibia, Italy, South Africa, and two-time defending world champions New Zealand.
ROUND 1 – Sunday, November 11
ROUND 2 – Saturday, November 17
ROUND 3 – Friday, November 23
1996-06-01 – Canada 18-12 Hong Kong – Hong Kong
1996-07-06 – Canada 57-9 Hong Kong – Vancouver
1997-05-24 – Canada 35-27 Hong Kong – Hong Kong
1997-06-07 – Canada 17-16 Hong Kong – Vancouver
1998-05-09 – Canada 17-23 Hong Kong – Hong Kong
1998-06-13 – Canada 38-12 Hong Kong – Shawnigan Lake
2009-12-12 – Hong Kong 14-24 Germany – Heidelberg
2017-05-27 – Kenya 29-30 Germany – Nairobi
2017-11-18 – Hong Kong40-30 Kenya – Hong Kong
2017- Hong Kong 43-34 Kenya -Nairobi
2017- Kenya 19-19 Hong Kong -Nairobi
2016- Kenya 34-10 Hong Kong -Nairobi
Additional material derived from scmp.com