Blitzboks finish second after Sevens World Series season cancelled
LONDON - The rest of the rugby Sevens World Series has been cancelled and New Zealand declared winners of the men’s and women’s titles, while South Africa's Blitzboks were awarded second place.
The Hong Kong, Singapore, Langford, London and Paris legs were postponed, but World Rugby cancelled them after discussion with all of the host unions.
New Zealand was awarded the titles for leading the standings when the coronavirus pandemic stopped the series after six of the 10 men’s rounds and four of the five women’s rounds.
South Africa was second and Fiji third in the men's series. Australia was second and Canada third in the women’s.
"The decision follows detailed and constructive dialogue with the host and participating unions, and has been taken with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority, and in line with the relevant national government and public health authority advice," World Rugby said in a statement.
"New Zealand will be awarded both the women’s and men’s titles courtesy of being top of the standings before the pandemic interrupted the Series with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds successfully completed.
"The Black Ferns Sevens had topped the podium in four of the five rounds in the women’s Series so far, while the All Blacks Sevens had claimed three victories and five podium finishes in the six rounds completed in the men’s Series."
There will be no promotion to the women’s Series this year as the inaugural Challenger Series event originally scheduled for March 28-29 in Stellenbosch was not able to take place.
As a result of these amendments, seedings for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be adapted to include results from the 2021 Series to ensure they provide the most robust and accurate representation of current form when the Games commence in July 2021.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “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.
“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.