Season-opening Dubai and Cape Town Sevens tournaments cancelled

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Next season's Dubai and Cape Town World Sevens Series events have been cancelled in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus concerns.

World Rugby released a statement on Wednesday evening confirming the cancellation of the two combined legs, set to be played on November 26-28 and December 4-6.

A working group has been set up to review the rest of the season.

Under the regular schedule, New Zealand's Hamilton and Australia's Sydney legs would be the next tournaments but their fates are unclear.

World Rugby has set up a working group to review the plans for the rest of the season, pending the spread of the virus around the world and the impact on international travel.

The 2019-20 World Series has already been wrapped up prematurely, with Australia's women second overall and the Aussie men finishing fourth.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said the decision was one that had to be made given the current situation of the pandemic.

"While we share in the disappointment of players, teams, fans, hosts and everyone involved with the popular events in Dubai and Cape Town, this is a prudent decision taken with the health and wellbeing of the global rugby community and wider society as our top priority and guided by the relevant government and international public health authority advice," he said.

"We look forward to welcoming these wonderful destinations back to the Series following this year’s hiatus.

"Through the Sevens working group we are continuing to work very hard in close collaboration with all stakeholders, including host and participating unions, International Rugby Players, and our commercial and broadcast partners to achieve our shared objective of a spectacular return to HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series action as soon as it is safe to do so and we continue to plan and prepare for all remaining events in the 2021 Series.

"Our research demonstrates that rugby sevens is an important driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations where it attracts new fans with its dynamic, skilful and spectacular style.

"Rugby Sevens is a key priority for our organisation and as we prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games hot on the heels of the success of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, 2021 has the potential to provide another huge step-change in the awareness and participation of rugby sevens around the globe."