2019-20 World Series cancelled, New Zealand take overall titles

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The remainder of the 2019-20 Sevens World Series has been cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

World Rugby announced on Tuesday night that the previously postponed Langford, Hong Kong, Singpaore, Paris and London legs would all be cancelled.

With international travel still restricted in many participating countries, the series was officially ended after six men's tournaments and five women's legs.

As the leader in both the men's and women's standings when the season was shut down, New Zealand was also awarded the overall trophies.

Australia's women finished second while the men were sitting in fourth when coronavirus wreaked havoc on the world.

With the Olympics already postponed, results from the 2021 season will be used to decide the seedings for the Tokyo Games.

It is unclear when the Sevens sides will play again but Australia has previously indicated hopes of a trans-Tasman or even Pacific tournament to be played in lieu of World Series events.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said it was a disappointing but necessary decision to cancel the rest of the series.

“While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved to have to cancel these events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority," he said.

“These difficult decisions have been taken following detailed consultation with our union partners and in line with advice from the various government and public health agencies around the world, given the global nature of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

“Rugby sevens is a key driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations, and it firmly remains a top priority for our organisation. As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 has potential to be a very exciting year for rugby sevens with the Tokyo Olympic Games on the horizon.

“Congratulations to New Zealand on being awarded both the women’s and men’s Series titles following their outstanding and consistent performances prior to the onset of the pandemic, and to Japan for being crowned champions of the inaugural Challenger Series and securing a core place on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021.

“We thank our union, commercial and broadcast partners for their continued support and solidarity during this difficult time. We are united in our commitment and will continue to work hard in a spirit of collaboration."