World Rugby has today announced the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series rounds in Langford, London and Paris have been postponed as the sport’s governing body takes further action in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
After detailed dialogue with the respective host and participating unions, the postponement of the three tournaments scheduled to take place in May follows the earlier decision to reschedule the Hong Kong and Singapore legs for October.
The Ireland Women’s Sevens were due to resume their 2019/20 season in Langford from May 2-3, while Anthony Eddy‘s Ireland Men were building towards the double-header in London and Paris from May 23-24 and May 30-31 following their recent sixth and 13th place finishes in Los Angeles and Vancouver.
In a statement, World Rugby say the Men’s World Series tournaments in London and Paris have been postponed provisionally until September, while the Women’s round in Langford has been postponed until later in the year.
The Olympic Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June, and which presented Ireland Men’s Sevens with their final opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020, is also under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the Repechage is unable to be hosted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
As things stand, Ireland Men sit in 10th place in the overall World Series standings after six rounds while Ireland Women are also in 10th position following five tournaments in the Women’s campaign.
Commenting on the postponements, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We stand in solidarity with the global rugby family and people around the world at this exceptional and difficult time, and I will ensure we continue to do everything in our power to protect the wellbeing of the global rugby family and the wider public.
“Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in line with government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount. This has underpinned our decision, taken in consultation with our unions, to suspend these World Rugby tournament activities with immediate effect.
“We are also in close dialogue with the IOC relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final repechage tournament, should that be required. We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.
“At this extraordinary time we are in continual close dialogue with unions, regions and international rugby players relating to the wider global impact on rugby activities of the government and health agency guidelines and the knock-on financial implications for the sport as a whole.
“The Executive Committee will oversee the implementation of a detailed action plan that will guide us through this challenging period as a sport unified across the international and domestic environments.
“Our advice to everyone involved with rugby continues to be to stay safe, adhere to the relevant government advice and watch out for each other.”