UPDATE on 20 March 2020 at 16:55 SAST: London and Paris Sevens events provisionally postponed.
If you’re a new Sevens fan, perhaps from Canada after they won the bronze in Vancouver recently, you’re probably wondering when next you’ll get to watch the hot steppers in action.
There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that there are four more HSBC World Series Sevens tournaments to come this year. More good news is that Sevens Rugby will also feature at the Olympics.
The bad news is that the next event isn’t until May. The other bad news is that whether or not the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will ahead is somewhat uncertain in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Why the long wait for the next World Series Sevens event
The coronavirus. Singapore and Hong Kong Sevens usually feature next on the circuit, with the World Series finishing in Paris. But due to the outbreak, the Asia leg of the tournament has been postponed to October this year.
In a statement released on 13 February 2020, World Rugby said:
World Rugby, the Hong Kong Rugby Union and Sport Singapore have taken the decision to reschedule the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 in response to continued health concerns relating to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. This prudent decision has been taken in order to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines. The decision is fully supported by stakeholders, including unions and commercial partners.
Both events will be rescheduled to conclude the World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 with the Singapore Sevens now taking place on 10-11 October and the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens completing the series on 16-18 October.
Hong Kong and Singapore will host World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 tournaments as per usual in April.
The postponement means the World Series champion won’t be decided until after the Olympics.
Sevens coming up: London and Paris
The London Sevens (23-24 May) and Paris Sevens (30-31 May) are the next events on the calendar. However, there are doubts over these tournaments, too. France Ligue 1, the country’s premier football competition, will be played behind closed doors until at least April. Paris Saint-Germain also moved one of its Champions League fixtures to be played behind closed doors.
At the time of writing on Wednesday 11 March 2020, The Guardian had reported a “record rise” in cases in the UK and Iran, adding that deaths had been reported in both Bulgaria and Ireland.
And what about Rugby Sevens at the Olympics?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday, 11 March 2020, that “the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are continuing as planned”. The final decision will sit with IOC boss Thomas Bach.
Bach gave his unequivocal backing for the Games to go ahead following a committee executive board meeting in Switzerland. Postponement is one option, but that would wreak havoc with qualification events with the Commonwealth Games saddled in-between. Cancellation is a possibility, but everyone involved in organising the event is doing everything they can to ensure the Games – and Rugby Sevens at the Olympics – goes ahead.
You Asked is a series of articles which answers some of the internet’s most burning questions. You can read the full series here.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.