World Rugby announced today the New Zealand and Australian legs of the 2021 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will not be played due to the continued global uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Series Sevens was suspended in March as the COVID-19 pandemic struck and has still not resumed. Now the January 2021 legs in Hamilton, New Zealand and Sydney have been cancelled.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Sydney Sevens won’t be taking place in 2021,” interim Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke said.
“It has fast become one of the most exciting events on the global rugby calendar and I want to thank World Rugby as well as our Government partner, Destination NSW, for their support and understanding.
“Rugby Australia and World Rugby have prioritised the health and wellbeing of our players, and our fans, in this decision but we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Sydney in 2022.”
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said it was disappointing for the teams, fans, and event partners, but a sensible decision under current circumstances.
“We’ve had three great years in Hamilton and were planning to take the tournament back to FMG Stadium Waikato again next January, but we understand and support the decision to cancel.”
The Hamilton and Sydney rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 had been provisionally scheduled for 23-24 and 30-31 January 2021 respectively. NZR’s four-year licence to host a World Series tournament remains in place through to 2023.
HSBC New Zealand Sevens co-promoter and 37 South Managing Director Dallas Fisher said Hamilton and the Waikato region should be proud of what had been achieved over the past three years.
“The event has generated significant financial benefits for the region and been an immense source of pride for the city. Fans have embraced the event and we will be ready and willing to do it all again in the future.”
The All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens teams' schedules had been disrupted, but Lendrum said contingency plans were well advanced to ensure both teams were well prepared for the Tokyo Olympics.
“The goal of our sevens teams to succeed at the Olympics hasn’t changed and our high-performance team have done a great job ensuring the players remain fit, focused and informed.”