New Zealand win men's and women's titles as remaining rounds cancelled

Ruben Hill
July 1, 2020

World Rugby announced the decision on Tuesday morning, after a consultation process that looked at the possibility of concluding the season in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

Both New Zealand teams were leading the standings, with the All Blacks Sevens having won three of six tournaments.

Kenya's Shujaa was placed 12 in the standings with 35 points after the first six legs.

The Black Ferns won four of the five completed rounds of the women's series, but legs in Langford, Paris and Hong Kong have been cancelled.

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Olympic champions Australia finish second in the women's Series with Canada in third. "There was very good communication from World Rugby with the national coaches since the pandemic started, so we all knew that it was going to be a stretch to complete the season, if at all, and we know their decision was taken with the best interest at heart for all involved", said Powell, who was pleased with South Africa's second place finish overall.

There will be no relegation in either series but Japan will be promoted as the victor of the men's second-tier series.

There will be no finals for the new second-tier Challenger series this year, World Rugby said, and therefore no promotion to, or relegation from, the top tiers.

"While this probably isn't the way the teams would have liked to claim the series titles, it is a reflection of the impressive form they were in", New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"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".

It comes as England, Wales and Scotland's men's and women's sevens teams could merge as a long-term result of the coronavirus pandemic as part of a cost-cutting move to improve playing standards. We have, effectively, got two shots at preparing for an Olympic Games and we have been able to review everything we have done for this year and that is exciting'. "We are united in our commitment and will continue to work hard in a spirit of collaboration as we plan for a return to worldwide rugby sevens as soon as safely possible".

HSBC Global Head of Brand Partnerships Jonathan Castleman said: "As long-term global partner of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, we fully support the hard decision taken to cancel these tournaments in response to the ongoing impact of Coronavirus".

International Rugby Players Head of Legal and Player Welfare, David Quinlan said: "Players are naturally disappointed at today's announcement, however given the circumstances of this pandemic, it's the right decision for all concerned. The players who are in the squad at the moment are world class and all we need is some contact time together".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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