The popular HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament, which was scheduled to take place from 10-12 December this year, has been called off due to ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-pandemic.
World Rugby and SA Rugby announced on Friday that the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as the tournament in Singapore, planned for 29-30 October, have been cancelled.
“We highly regret that we had to cancel the Cape Town Sevens for a second successive season, but unfortunately the situation with the pandemic has made it impossible for us to stage the world-class event we’ve become used to in recent years,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“There were simply too many insurmountable challenges, in the ever-changing environment we are currently operating in, to allow us to predictably plan for an event of this magnitude.
“Due to COVID travel restrictions, several major teams had already indicated that they would not be able to travel to Cape Town in December, which further complicated our planning.
“In conjunction with World Rugby, we had no other choice than to take this very disappointing but necessary decision, with the health and welfare of players, fans and the wider public as top priority. However, we are hard at work to deliver a world-class Rugby World Cup Sevens in September next year.”
On a positive note, a very busy and exciting year is already in the planning stages for 2022, with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which will be announced later this month, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 29-31 July, and concluding with the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on 9-11 September.
Following constructive discussions, it has been agreed that Sydney, Australia and Hamilton, New Zealand, will not be part of the schedule in 2022 due to the ongoing travel and logistical challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in this region. Advanced discussions are ongoing towards replacement hosts for these events in the 2022 Series.
Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, there will be no relegation from the 2021 Series and the results will not contribute towards seedings for any other future events.
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “The Olympic Games in Tokyo once again showcased the very best of rugby sevens to a huge global audience as the sport’s fast-paced, action-packed style thrilled fans watching around the globe.
“We now look ahead to the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with the upcoming events in Canada and what promises to be a very busy and exciting year for the sport in 2022 with the Series, which will kick off in Dubai, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and climaxing with Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.