New Zealand has been awarded both the men’s and women’s Sevens Series titles as the remaining tournaments in the 2019-20 season have been called off due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Following a comprehensive consultation process, World Rugby announced that the remaining tournaments set to take place in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong have all been cancelled due to the global nature of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ended the 2019-20 season prematurely.
New Zealand – who topped both the men’s and women’s standings before the season ended – has accordingly been awarded both titles with four rounds left in the men’s series and three rounds to play in the women’s series.
The All Blacks Sevens had won three of the six completed tournaments – in Cape Town, Hamilton and Vancouver – and led the men’s standings on 155 points.
The Blitzboks won two tournaments – in Dubai and Los Angeles – and were on 104 points in second place. Neil Powell’s side will officially finish in second place, while Fiji will finish third on 83 points.
The decision comes after a detailed discussion with the host nations of the remaining tournaments and participants, taken with the well-being of the rugby community as well as the general public as a top priority.
World Rugby has confirmed that there will be no promotion or relegation from the men’s or women’s series for 2020.
The Imbokodo – South Africa’s Women’s Sevens team – have suffered disappointment as their hopes of being promoted as a regular team in the women’s series have been dashed due to the cancellation of the Challenger Series event – originally scheduled for 28-29 March in Stellenbosch.
Seedings for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be adapted to include results from the 2021 series to ensure that they provide the most accurate representation of current form when the Games take place in July 2021.
‘While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved to have to cancel these events due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority,’ World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
‘These difficult decisions have been taken following detailed consultation with our union partners and in line with advice from the various government and public health agencies around the world, given the global nature of the Sevens Series.
‘Sevens is a key driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations, and it firmly remains a top priority for our organisation. As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 has potential to be a very exciting year for rugby sevens with the Tokyo Olympic Games on the horizon.
‘Congratulations to New Zealand on being awarded both the Women’s and Men’s Series titles following their outstanding and consistent performances prior to the onset of the pandemic, and to Japan for being crowned champions of the inaugural Challenger Series and securing a core place on the Sevens Series 2021.’
Ticket-holders for the cancelled Sevens Series 2020 tournaments in Langford, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong are advised to contact the event organiser for more information regarding their respective event.
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