World Rugby has announced the New Zealand and Australian legs of the 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series will not be played amid the continued uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes after the Dubai and Cape Town Sevens – provisionally scheduled to take place at the end of this year – had also been cancelled. The events were due to be the first two legs on the ten-tournament 2020-21 World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Hamilton and Sydney rounds of the 2021 Sevens Series had been provisionally scheduled for 23-24 and 30-31 January 2021, respectively.
New Zealand Rugby general manager professional rugby & performance Chris Lendrum said it was disappointing for the teams, fans and event partners, but a sensible decision under current circumstances.
‘We’ve had three great years in Hamilton and were planning to take the tournament back to FMG Stadium Waikato again next January, but we understand and support the decision to cancel.’
The All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens teams’ schedules had been disrupted, but Lendrum said contingency plans were well advanced to ensure both teams were well prepared for the Tokyo Olympics.
‘The goal of our sevens teams to succeed at the Olympics hasn’t changed and our high-performance team have done a great job ensuring the players remain fit, focused and informed.’
Most of NZR’s contracted sevens players would be involved in the upcoming Farah Palmer Cup and Mitre 10 Cup, respectively. It is likely that South Africa’s sevens players will be doing the same, with a domestic tournament set to take place from the beginning of October.
An Oceania invitational tournament in early 2021 was also being discussed, while World Rugby was working on an abbreviated World Sevens Series schedule.
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