World Rugby has cancelled the remaining rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series due to the global pandemic, officially awarding New Zealand both the men’s and women’s titles based on the existing standings.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-20 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series had postponed play, but they are now pulling the plug entirely, resulting in four cancelled tournaments on the men’s side and three on the women’s side.
The popular Vancouver Island women’s stop in Langford will not be played this year, along with joint events in Hong Kong and Paris plus men’s tournaments in London and Singapore.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted play with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds completed.
On the women’s side, the Canadians will finish third in the series standings behind New Zealand’s Black Ferns and Australia. The Black Ferns won four out of the five women’s rounds this series with the Canadians the runner-up to them on three occasions.
On the men’s side, the Canadians had a stellar performance at the last event to take place this year, which was the Canada Sevens in Vancouver, on March 7-8.
The team finished with the bronze medal at that tournament, while finishing 8th overall in the standings.
The All Blacks from New Zealand top the standings, while South Africa and Fiji rounded out the top three.
“While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organizers 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 No. 1 priority,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement Tuesday,
World Rugby said there will be no relegation from the women’s or men’s circuits in 2020.
Both Canadian squads had already managed to secure berths for the Tokyo Olympics, which were scheduled for August 2020 but have also been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Olympics are now scheduled to be held in 2021.
World Rugby says Olympic seedings will be adapted to include results from the 2021 World Series “to ensure they provide the most robust and accurate representation of current form” for the 2021 Tokyo Games next July.
With files to Canadian Press.