World Rugby faces a serious backlash after making format changes to the Sevens Series men’s tournament that will see the winners of the four pools in Hamilton progress straight to the semi-finals.
The changes come partly in order to accommodate women’s tournaments. The women’s and men’s tournaments will be taking place in a combined event for the first time in Hamilton from 25-26 January.
The recent Cape Town Sevens was held over three days, and not two, because of the addition of a women’s tournament, but this will not be the case in Hamilton and Sydney.
As a result, the traditional Cup quarter-final stage of the men’s tournament will be scrapped, with the winners of the four pools progressing straight to the semi-finals.
‘Players and coaches are angry,’ one of the overseas coaches told Rapport newspaper. ‘Not only do the changes negatively affect the draw for the Olympics, but it also jeopardises the integrity of the game and the enjoyment of playing.’
The men’s Hamilton event sees joint-series leaders South Africa, who were victorious in Dubai, drawn with Kenya, England and invitational team Japan in Pool B.
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