World Rugby announced the return of the World Series Sevens, with a shortened 2021 calendar set for a May kick off in Paris.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, together with the spectacle of the Olympic Games in July, World Rugby said that it “worked closely with partners, host organisations and participating unions to agree a compact and highly impactful Sevens Series in 2021”.
The condensed 2021 Series schedule includes five women’s and four men’s rounds, with the addition of a further two potential men’s events under discussion.
The 2021 World Series Sevens will kick off in Marcoussis, Paris on 15-16 and 22-23 May. That’s all you’ll get for the time being, though, with an Olympic-enforced recess to follow until the restart in Singapore from 29-30 October. That will be followed by joint men’s and women’s rounds in Hong Kong on 5-7 November, Dubai on 3-4 December, followed by an exciting climax in Cape Town on 10-12 December.
In a statement released on Wednesday, World Rugby added:
Detailed discussions are continuing with London and Vancouver on the viability of hosting men’s events in the window following the Olympic Games and prior to the Singapore Sevens in October and further updates to the schedule will be given when available.
The health and wellbeing of players, fans and the wider community remain top priority and both World Rugby and the host organisations will work closely with the relevant national governments and health agencies to ensure the safe and secure delivery of the events.
New Zealand are the reigning champions of both the women’s and men’s Series after being crowned winners of the 2020 edition, which was brought to an early conclusion with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds successfully completed prior to the onset of the pandemic.
In the men’s Series, Japan will join as a core team following their promotion from the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series in 2020, while it has been agreed that in this Olympic year, the England, Scotland and Wales teams will combine to compete as ‘GB Sevens’ in both the men’s and women’s Series’ in 2021. This will create two additional invitational places for teams to participate in the men’s 2021 Series events, with invitational teams to be announced in due course.