World Rugby have announced an ‘investment strategy’ fund totalling £1.86m will be accessible to struggling unions with sevens teams, after cancelling 2021 World Sevens Series events in Hamilton and Sydney.
Taking action after the RFU and WRU scrapped their sevens programmes in August, World Rugby say the fund can be used to cover the cost of training camps, competition support, technical and sports science and medical staff for teams that have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
Whether this could lead to the revival of the England and Wales programmes remains to be seen, as the four home nations are represented under the umbrella Team GB.
A shadow of doubt has been cast over preparations for the Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for next summer, with Australia receiving a £1.21m boost from the Australia Institute for Sport in July.
While World Rugby are still working on plans to hold its Olympics repechage involving 24 teams for the final qualifying spots for Tokyo.
World Rugby cancelled events for 2021 in Hamilton and Sydney in order to carry over postponed legs in Hong Kong and Singapore to the new series set for April.
A decision that was met with no criticism by New Zealand Rugby general manager Chris Lendrum, who said: “We have had three great years in Hamilton and were planning to take the tournament back to Waikato Stadium again next January, but we understand and support the decision to cancel.”
New Zealand were declared winners of the Men’s and Women’s Series for 2020, with Vancouver in March being the last time teams saw action.