New Zealand take both World Sevens Series titles as Covid ends season early

All Blacks claim 13th title while Black Ferns secure sixth in eight years of the circuit

All Blacks’ Sam Dickson in action against Fiji in the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in April. Photograph:  Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

All Blacks’ Sam Dickson in action against Fiji in the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in April. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

 

New Zealand were awarded the men’s and women’s World Sevens Series titles on Tuesday after World Rugby cancelled the remainder of the season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tournaments in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong were cancelled on the men’s tour, while the women’s circuit lost rounds in the United States, Paris and Hong Kong.

“While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved . . . the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

‘Difficult decisions’

“These difficult decisions have been taken following detailed consultation with our union partners and in line with advice from the various government and public health agencies around the world.”

The All Blacks men’s team claim a 13th title after winning three of the six rounds that were completed before the spread of Covid-19 forced the suspension of all major sport around the world.

South Africa finished 11 points back in second place with 2019 champions and Olympic gold medallists Fiji third. Ireland finished in 10th place.

The Black Ferns women’s team had looked well on their way to a second successive title, and a sixth in eight years of the circuit, with four tournament triumphs in five rounds before the coronavirus shutdown.

Australia, who will defend their Olympic title in Tokyo next year, were second with Canada taking third place while Ireland also took 10th place.

There will be no finals for the new second-tier Challenger series this year, World Rugby said, and therefore no promotion to, or relegation from, the top tiers.

“As a result of these amendments, seedings for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be adapted to include results from the 2021 Series to ensure they provide the most robust and accurate representation of current form,” World Rugby said.

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