World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby have combinedly confirmed the cancellation of Hamilton and Sydney legs of the 2022 World Rugby Sevens series due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The tournaments were scheduled later this month but the decision was taken in accordance with the local government guidelines after discussion with member unions.
New Zealand Rugby general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum expressed disappointment over the news but believes the right decision was taken in the given situation.
“This is particularly tough for our Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens teams following their success at the Tokyo Olympics and for all our of the stakeholders who have made the Hamilton tournament a highlight of the sporting calendar.
“The major obstacle to hosting the tournament in New Zealand next year was bringing 26 teams into the country through MIQ. We understand the Government’s MIQ priority to keep our borders safe and we accept the scale of our requirements weren’t possible.
“The Sevens has been a popular and exciting annual event on the sporting calendar for more than 20 years and everyone would love to see it return, but for now we will focus on planning some meaningful Sevens for our teams.”
World Rugby in a statement confirmed that a revised schedule for the 2022 edition of the Sevens series will be announced in due course.
"The truly global nature of the Series has made it difficult to plan with certainty in this uniquely challenging time as the ongoing and dynamic impacts and travel restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic continue to present a challenge to all stakeholders," World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said.
"We now look ahead to the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with upcoming events in Canada and Dubai ahead of what promises to be a very busy and exciting year for the sport in 2022 with the Series followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and climaxing with Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town."