The concluding leg of the shortened 2021 HSBC Sevens World Series will be played at the Cape Town Stadium from 10-12 December.
The 2021 series will have four men’s and five women’s tournaments. It kicks off with back-to-back women’s tournaments in Paris in May before taking a break as teams depart for the Olympics in Tokyo scheduled to take place in July.
The World Series will then recommence after the Olympics with men’s events in Singapore, followed by joint men’s and women’s events in Hong Kong, Dubai and finishing in Cape Town.
There are currently discussions over adding London and Vancouver to the playing roster in the gap between the end of the Olympics and the recommencement of the series in Singapore. Further updates to the schedule will be released as soon as they become available.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux welcomed the news that sevens would be returning to South Africa as the HSBC Cape Town Sevens is one of the most well-attended and anticipated sporting events in the country.
‘The HSBC Cape Town Sevens has delivered a world-class event for spectators and players alike since we moved the tournament to Cape Town Stadium in 2015.
‘We are working very hard to ensure the same high standards and expectations are met this year, given the changed environment and expected pandemic guidelines that will apply.’
With all the disruptions, the 2021 season is set to be challenging for players and administrators but Roux lauded World Rugby’s efforts.
‘We have seen the disruptions caused by Covid-19 in the last year and it was not easy to get all the moving parts together, especially as the postponed Olympic Games also impacted on the normal planning.
‘Credit must go to those involved to make sure that we will not only have a World Series, but also one that could finish on a high here in Cape Town.
‘We saw a very good appetite for the dual format of the tournament in 2019 and I am convinced the same will apply this December. The fact that we will be the final tournament of the series will add to the excitement and drama that is so closely associated with sevens rugby.
‘Matches will be played over three days and with some of the world’s best athletes and the unpredictability of sevens, the HSBC Cape Town Sevens will yet again provide our spectators with hours of excellent entertainment.’
World Rugby interim CEO Alan Gilpin was also positive that the series could go ahead.
‘Today’s announcement of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 schedule marks a significant and exciting moment for rugby seven’s re-emergence from the impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic and we thank HSBC and all Series partners for their unwavering support, and host organisations and participating unions for their hard work, patience and spirit of collaboration.
‘As a key driver of game growth, particularly in emerging markets, the continued success of rugby sevens and the Sevens Series is a strategic priority for World Rugby and our US$4-million funding to support sevens programmes is a clear demonstration of our commitment. This unique Olympic year provides a huge opportunity to reach new audiences around the world and introduce them to the speed, skill and excitement of rugby sevens, encouraging them to become future fans of the Series.
‘Above all, the health, safety and well-being of players, fans and the wider community remains our top priority and all stakeholders will continue to closely monitor global developments with the Covid-19 pandemic and work closely with host governments and health agencies to ensure a safe, secure and highly impactful return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.’