World Rugby has cancelled the remaining rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series because of the global pandemic, awarding New Zealand the men’s and women’s titles based on the existing standings.
Joint events in Hong Kong and Paris plus men’s tournaments in London and Singapore and a women’s stop in Langford, B.C., had already been postponed. Now they are off the books entirely.
The last event to take place was the men’s Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 7-8.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted play with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds completed.
The All Blacks won three times with podium finishes in five of the six men’s events. South Africa, which won twice and was runner-up twice, finishes second over all with Fiji, which won one event and was runner-up once, placing third.
Canada, which won bronze in Vancouver, finishes eighth.
The Black Ferns dominated the women’s season, winning four of the five rounds and finishing third in the other. Australia finishes second and Canada, runner-up to New Zealand on three occasions and third once, third.
“While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organizers and everyone involved to have to cancel these events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of the rugby community and wider society remains the No. 1 priority,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement Tuesday,
World Rugby said there will be no relegation from the women’s or men’s circuits in 2020.
The final men’s and women’s events of the HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series were also called off.
Japan was awarded the inaugural men’s Challenger Series title after winning gold and bronze in the two rounds that took place in Chile and Uruguay. That means Japan will join the World Series 2021 as the 16th core team.
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, South Africa, did not take place.
World Rugby says Olympic seedings will be adapted to include results from the 2021 World Series “to ensure they provide the most robust and accurate representation of current form” for the 2021 Tokyo Games next July.