New Zealand rugby national teams for both men and women have been declared Champions after the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 was Postponed due to COVID-19.
According to the World Rugby Organization, the two 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.
“Following a comprehensive consultation process the remaining rounds of the women’s and men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 in Langford, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong have been cancelled due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the 2020 Series to an early conclusion” read part of the statement, adding that the decision was taken for the well being of the rugby community and public.
“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,” they said.
Prior to the pandemic, the women’s Black Ferns Sevens team had topped the podium in four of the five rounds in the women’s Series, while the All Blacks Sevens had claimed three victories and five podium finishes in the six rounds completed in the men’s Series.
It was also confirmed that Olympic champions Australia finish second in the women’s Series with Canada in third, while in the men’s Series, the 2018 champions South Africa finish in second place with Olympic and 2019 Series champions Fiji in third.
Furthermore, there will be no relegation from the women’s or men’s Series in 2020. However, Japan, who have been awarded the inaugural men’s Challenger Series title as they topped the rankings after the two completed events that took place in Chile and Uruguay, will join the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 as the 16th core team.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series men’s and women’s final events will also not take place in 2020, while there will also be no promotion to the women’s Series this year as the inaugural Challenger Series event originally scheduled for 28-29 March in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 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” they said.