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JOHANNESBURG - World Rugby have announced that the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, provisionally scheduled for 4-6 December 2020, has been cancelled due the COVID-19 pandemic,

The opening leg of the series in Dubai has also been cancelled. The events were due to be the first two legs on the ten-tournament 2020/2021 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The decision follows the recently announced conclusion of this season's Sevens Series, with New Zealand confirmed as both men’s and women’s champions.

The Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Paris legs of the series had to be cancelled, with World Rugby and its partners now continuing to focus on planning for the remainder of the 2020/2021 series and the build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“This is a very disappointing development but far from unexpected,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

“The HSBC Cape Town Sevens is a highly complex, international event that involves 28 men’s and women’s teams travelling from all the corners of the globe and considering the progress of the pandemic, both here and around the world, the prospects of being able to deliver our normal spectacular were extremely slim”, he said.

“The opening of air borders remains uncertain; the requirements of quarantining and the need for preparation time for teams really left us no choice. And even if we had been able to fly in 28 teams the likelihood is that we would have had to play behind closed doors, which held little appeal considering the unique nature of the event. Over and above all of that, the health of players and fans was of paramount importance and with the current uncertainties in that regard, all parties agreed on the need to cancel this year’s event”, he said.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper added: “While we share in the disappointment of players, teams, fans, hosts and everyone involved with the popular events in Dubai and Cape Town, this is a prudent decision taken with the health and wellbeing of the global rugby community and wider society as our top priority and guided by the relevant government and international public health authority advice. We look forward to welcoming these wonderful destinations back to the Series following this year’s hiatus.”

Cape Town and Dubai are due to return to a full series schedule in 2021.

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This article first appeared on EWN : Cape Town Sevens event cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

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