No Australasia leg for World Sevens series
NEWS: Sydney has missed out on hosting a World Rugby Sevens series leg due to logistical challenges associated with the coronavirus.
The 2022 schedule was announced on Tuesday with the series to kick off with a pair of men’s and women’s rounds in Dubai starting in November.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell can’t wait for some form of normality to return when the Blitzboks start the defence of their crown in the 2022 World Rugby Sevens Series building up to the Commonwealth Games in July and culminating in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in September.
The 2022 World Series will include 10 men’s and seven women’s rounds over six months, kicking off in Dubai and including new tournaments in Spain and France.
The World Series kicks off at the end of next month with Dubai hosting a behind-closed-doors round on November 26-27, 2021, followed by a second event on December 3-4 with fans in attendance at The Sevens Stadium.
The Series will then move on to Europe as Spain play host for the first time with combined men’s and women’s events in Malaga and Seville on January 21-23 and 28-30, 2022 respectively.
The new venues in Spain temporarily replace traditional Series hosts Sydney (Australia) and Hamilton (New Zealand), who are unable to host in 2022 due to the logistical challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in their region.
The men’s teams will then travel to North America, with tournaments scheduled for Vancouver on February 26-27 and Los Angeles on March 5-6, before moving to Asia where Hong Kong returns to host a combined men’s and women’s event on April 1-3, followed by a men’s event in Singapore on April 9-10 .
The Blitzboks will enter the 2022 World Series as defending champions after claiming the 2021 title in Canada in September.
“We’re very excited to see a full World Series return to the calendar,” said Powell.
“We also realise the reality of the times we’re living in and know that it’s possible that some events may be changed or cancelled closer to the time, but for now it’s nice to see the planning in place for a full season.
“It’s also great to have a new country on the circuit with the two planned tournaments in Spain. They’ve also done well on the circuit and it’s a country that tries hard to grow the game, so it will be good to play in Malaga and Seville.”
Powell said the two recent tournaments in Canada, where the Blitzboks were crowned champions in Vancouver and Edmonton last month, showed the players’ hunger to play again.
“Hopefully the Springbok Sevens team can build on that excitement and have a good 2022 World Series,” he added.
After the World Series, the focus will shift to two standalone tournaments – the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (England) on July 29-31, and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on September 9-11.
In other news, World Rugby announced that Japan will join the men’s series as a core team following their promotion as World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series champions in 2020.
Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai – as part of the standing agreement to play the calendar year 2021 – before reverting to compete as national unions (England, Scotland and Wales) for the remainder of the 2022 World Series.