The 2021 series is shortened due to the pandemic, late start and the Olympics.
World Rugby have announced a shortened HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series’ schedule for 2021. This will maintain safety for players and officials amid the pandemic, while still showcasing sevens rugby.
There are five rounds in the women’s series, and four confirmed rounds in the men’s. This is subject to change though, with discussions for London and Vancouver to host the series ongoing. World Rugby suggests these rounds will commence after the Olympic games and before the first scheduled round in Singapore.
Hong Kong, Dubai and Cape Town will all host joint men’s and women’s events of the series for the three final rounds.
Kicking off their campaign in Paris with back to back rounds on May 15 – 16 and May 22 – 23, the women’s series will then have to wait until November 5 – 7 in Hong Kong before recommencing fixtures. However, the Tokyo Olympics interrupts the break in late July, as teams prepare for the summer tournament with a joint women’s and men’s event in Los Angeles over the weekend of June 25 – 27.
Currently, the men’s first round of the series is due for October 29 – 30 in Singapore, although that is likely to change if London and Vancouver are added to the schedule.
The series heads to Dubai for December 3 – 4 for the penultimate stage of the season. Cape Town will then host the final round of both the men’s and women’s series, on 10-12 December.
Japan’s success in the 2020 Challenger Series sees them join the 16 core teams for the 2021 men’s series. Additionally, England, Scotland and Wales will all combine to create a GB Sevens team in both the men’s and women’s series in this Olympic year. Therefore, the men’s series will invite two additional teams in order to maintain the 16-team tournament. However, the women’s series won’t invite anymore nations as Wales and Scotland aren’t part of the 11 core teams.
New Zealand are the reigning champions in both tournaments after a premature ending to the 2019-20 series. The men’s series played six of ten scheduled fixtures, while the women’s series managed to fulfil five of eight rounds.
World Rugby Interim Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “Today’s announcement of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 schedule marks a significant moment for rugby sevens. We thank HSBC and all Series partners for their unwavering support. We also thank host organisations and participating unions for their hard work, patience and spirit of collaboration.
“The continued success of the Sevens Series is a strategic priority for World Rugby. This unique Olympic year provides a huge opportunity to reach new audiences around the world. We hope to introduce them to the speed, skill and excitement of rugby sevens.
“Above all, the health, safety and wellbeing of players, fans and the wider community remains our top priority. All stakeholders will continue to closely monitor global developments with the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work closely with host governments and health agencies to ensure a safe and secure return to the series.”
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