Following rugby sevens’ captivating second appearance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the sport returns to HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series action this month with a pair of HSBC Canada Sevens men’s events alongside women’s fast four tournaments in Vancouver on 18-19 September and Edmonton on 25-26 September 2021.
The events in Canada will form the 2021 Series, with the Series title awarded in Edmonton, as an update to the planned schedule sees Dubai now host a pair of men’s and women’s combined events as the kick-off for the following year’s 2022 Series. The Emirates Dubai 7s will host a behind closed door round on 26-27 November 2021, followed by the second round on 3-4 December 2021 with fans in attendance at the popular event in The Sevens Stadium.
Unfortunately and despite the best efforts of all stakeholders involved, due to the ongoing and variable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic the HSBC Singapore Sevens and HSBC Cape Town Sevens planned for 29-30 October and 10-12 December respectively will not go ahead as planned in 2021.
World Rugby and the host organisations have taken these disappointing but necessary decisions with the health and welfare of players, fans and the wider public as top priority and look forward to international rugby sevens returning to both destinations in 2022.
Following constructive discussions, it has also 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.
The complete HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 schedule will be announced later this month. Rugby sevens players and fans can look forward to a very busy and exciting year in 2022 with the Series 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.
While a number of core Series teams are unable to participate in Canada this month due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, this presents an opportunity for other teams to shine and some invitational teams to gain experience at the top table of rugby sevens.
Both Vancouver and Edmonton will also host world-class women’s fast four competitions, including new Olympic silver medallists France, alongside Great Britain, the USA and hosts Canada as World Rugby continues its strategic commitment to increase elite competition opportunities for women’s rugby.
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.
Tom Burwell, Emirates Dubai 7s Tournament Director said: “We are excited to welcome back the world of rugby sevens to Dubai this November and December. We have always been very proud to kick-off the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series each year so to once again take our place at the beginning of the new season is something that Dubai is very proud of, with the first Emirates Dubai 7s being behind closed doors before a huge celebration to open the series for 2022 as we welcome teams and fans from all over the world to The Sevens Stadium. Thanks must go to the leadership of Dubai and government stakeholders for their support in ensuring we are able to host the festival with teams from across the globe.”