New Zealand have won both the Men’s and Women’s World Sevens Series crowns after World Rugby cancelled the remainder of the 2020 World Sevens Series.
Events in Langford, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong had all been postponed as a result of the global health crisis.
Given the size of touring parties World Rugby consulted host and participating unions where a consensus was reached to bring the 2020 series to an early conclusion, with relegation not factored in.
It means England Men’s team equal their 2019 standing after six out of ten rounds of competition; their best finish came in Dubai where they achieved the bronze medal.
In their debut season as a core nation, Ireland claim the feat of finishing above long-standing Sevens tourists Scotland. While Wales’ struggles leave them all the way down in 15th in the standings.
For New Zealand, co-captained by Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson, their place at the top of the standings ends their trophy drought which dates back to 2014.
Victors in Cape Town, Hamilton and Vancover, New Zealand topped the points charts for the series, scoring 100 more points than the nearest rival.
The indomitable Black Fern Sevens make it a double for New Zealand after winning four out of the five events.
It looked as though they were at full tilt heading towards the Tokyo Olympic Games before the IOC postponed proceedings until 2021.
Like the Men’s team, England Women’s team won bronze in Dubai in their best performance on the circuit under new head coach Charlie Hayter.
In a statement, World Rugby said it would make an announcement on when the 2021 series is likely to begin.
Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved to have to cancel these events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority.
“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, given the global nature of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
“Rugby sevens is a key driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations, and it firmly remains a top priority for our organisation. As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 has potential to be a very exciting year for rugby sevens with the Tokyo Olympic Games on the horizon.
“Congratulations to New Zealand on being awarded both the women’s and men’s Series titles following their outstanding and consistent performances prior to the onset of the pandemic, and to Japan for being crowned champions of the inaugural Challenger Series and securing a core place on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021.
“We thank our union, commercial and broadcast partners for their continued support and solidarity during this difficult time. We are united in our commitment and will continue to work hard in a spirit of collaboration as we plan for a return to international rugby sevens as soon as safely possible.”
Ticket holders for the cancelled HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 events in Langford, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong are advised to contact the event organiser for more information regarding their respective event.