COVID-19: Sevens take a hit
NEWS: Hong Kong’s famous rugby sevens tournament was postponed from next April to November on Thursday over continuing COVID-19 uncertainty after it was scrapped altogether this year.
The Hong Kong Sevens, which is the highlight of the global sevens circuit and helped inspire the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics, will now take place from November 5 to 7.
The vibrant tournament, an annual fixture since 1976 until this year, was last held in April 2019, meaning it will have been absent for more than two-and-a-half years when it finally returns.
Organisers said Hong Kong’s fourth wave of infections, and similar problems elsewhere around the world, prompted them to shift the event to November.
“Given increasing infection rates both at home and abroad, and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantines, it was felt that the environment remains too uncertain to support hosting the event next April,” the Hong Kong Rugby Union and World Rugby said in a statement.
HKRU chief executive Robbie McRobbie hoped that the rollout of vaccines across the world would help ease travel restrictions, allowing teams and thousands of overseas fans to visit.
“We hope that global vaccination efforts may support the easing of travel quarantines and local gathering restrictions and enable us to host the type of sevens to which fans the world over are accustomed,” he said.
Hong Kong is now scheduled to be the last leg of the 2020-2021 world series.
Details of the other tournaments are yet to be announced after the season-openers in the UAE and South Africa, followed by stops in Australia and New Zealand, were cancelled.