Wales’ men’s team had been due to compete in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong as they sought to climb back up the rankings to avoid dropping out of the top tier. However, today’s announcement from World Rugby confirms there will be no relegation, although Japan will join the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 as the 16th core team.
Wales captain Luke Treharne, who has been hosting weekly sevens tutorials on YouTube during the lockdown, commented: “Given the effect that COVID has had, I think it’s a fair decision from World Rugby to cancel the season. Hopefully the next steps involve planning some tournaments for later in the year, or even the start of 2021, so we can get back out playing.”
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 ten men’s rounds successfully completed.
There will be no promotion to the women’s Series this year.
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.
“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.”