Another two tournaments scrapped due to COVID-19
NEWS: World Rugby has confirmed the 2021 New Zealand Sevens and Sydney Sevens tournaments will not take place due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, World Rugby has revealed that the 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series’ contingency plans are progressing towards a return to action in Hong Kong and Singapore in April 2021.
The Dubai Sevens and Cape Town Sevens scheduled for December were already called off earlier this year.
In a statement released on Tuesday, World Rugby has shifted its focus on boosting preparation investment for Sevens ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.
World Rugby has announced a funding boost of US$2.5 million to optimise teams’ Olympic preparations for Tokyo Gameshttps://t.co/Hww8deX8u1
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) September 1, 2020
“In a significant boost to unions and players, the international federation is making a dedicated initial investment of US$2.5 million to support Olympic qualified national unions prepare for sevens’ biggest single global event, the Olympic Games,” said the statement.
“With all sports impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the Olympic Games postponed by 12 months, the commitment is being made with the welcome support of an advancement of International Olympic Committee payments to International Federations and National Olympic Committees.
“Each union that has qualified a team for the Tokyo 2020 Games will be able to apply to World Rugby for funding which can be directed towards Sevens squad training camps, competition support, technical and sports science and medical programmes.
“The news of the funding boost comes as collaborative contingency planning for the World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 continues to progress with ongoing reviews into the delivery of the remaining 2021 men’s and women’s Series events and preparations towards a safe, secure and impactful return to action in line with World Rugby’s COVID-19 return to play protocols.
“Following consultation and constructive dialogue with the host organisations, it has been confirmed that the combined men’s and women’s Hamilton and Sydney rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021, which were provisionally scheduled for 23-24 and 30-31 January 2021 respectively, will not take place due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rugby Australia Interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the Sydney Sevens won’t be taking place in 2021. It has fast become one of the most exciting events on the global Rugby calendar and I want to thank World Rugby as well as our Government partner, Destination NSW, for their support and understanding.
“Rugby Australia and World Rugby have prioritised the health and wellbeing of our players, and our fans, in this decision but we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Sydney in 2022.”
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said the cancellation of the Hamilton Sevens 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.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper added: “We continue to closely monitor the ongoing and dynamic global situation with COVID-19 and the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public remains sacrosanct.
“While it is disappointing not be able to go ahead with the Series events in New Zealand and Australia in January 2021, we are working very hard together with all host organisations, participating unions and other stakeholders to bring a safe, secure and highly impactful return to action as soon as possible and we look forward to returning to Sydney and Hamilton in future.”