Australia, NZ miss out on World Sevens Series event due to Covid-19

Sydney has missed out on hosting a World Rugby Sevens series leg due to logistical challenges associated with the coronavirus.

The 2022 schedule was announced on Tuesday with the series to kick off with a pair of men’s and women’s rounds in Dubai starting in November.

But while Hong Kong returns as a stop, Sydney and Hamilton (New Zealand) have missed out because of its stringent pandemic protocols.

Instead, Spain will play host for the first time with men’s and women’s events scheduled in Malaga and Seville from January 21-23 and January 28-30.

Toulouse in France will also welcome teams in May next year.

The series will have 10 men’s and seven women’s rounds over six months. The first round in Dubai will be behind closed doors from November 26-27 followed by another on December 3-4 with fans in attendance at The Sevens Stadium.

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure we can announce a full Series schedule today,” World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said in a statement.

“We thank HSBC, the host organisations, unions, commercial and broadcast partners for their unwavering support and spirit of collaboration as we navigate the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic together.”

The men’s series will also have a North American round in Vancouver (February 26-27) and Los Angeles (March 5-6) before moving to Asia, where Hong Kong will host a men’s and women’s event (April 1-3) after a gap of two years.

That will be followed by a men’s event in Singapore (April 9-10).