World Rugby has confirmed the 2021 HSBC Sydney Sevens will not take place due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken in line with relevant government and international public health authority advice, and with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community as well as the wider general public as the top priority.
The full HSBC World Sevens Series schedule is due to resume in 2021.The Hamilton leg, which was set to partner the Sydney event, will also not go ahead following consultation with World Rugby, the host unions and their respective partners.
Contingency planning for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 continues to progress with ongoing reviews into the delivery of the remaining 2021 men’s and women’s Series events and preparations towards a safe, secure and impactful return to action in line with World Rugby’s COVID-19 return to play protocols.
Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby will continue to consult with World Rugby regarding the establishment of several regional Oceania Sevens tournaments in early 2021 as preparation for the men’s and women’s teams ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Rugby Australia Interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the Sydney Sevens won’t be taking place in 2021. It has fast become one of the most exciting events on the global Rugby calendar and I want to thank World Rugby as well as our Government partner, Destination NSW, for their support and understanding.
“Rugby Australia and World Rugby have prioritised the health and wellbeing of our players, and our fans, in this decision but we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Sydney in 2022,” Clarke said.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “We continue to closely monitor the ongoing and dynamic global situation with COVID-19 and the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public remains sacrosanct.
“While it is disappointing not be able to go ahead with the Series events in New Zealand and Australia in January 2021, we are working very hard together with all host organisations, participating unions and other stakeholders to bring a safe, secure and highly impactful return to action as soon as possible and we look forward to returning to Sydney and Hamilton in future,” Gosper said.
A working group chaired by World Rugby Executive Committee and Council member John Jeffrey and including representatives of host and participating unions, players and coaches, has been formed to review contingency plans and evaluate preparations for the safe, secure and impactful return to international rugby sevens competition, and to ensure that the product is the best it can be for hosts, participating unions, broadcasters and commercial partners.