NZ Teams Pull Out of World Rugby Sevens Tournaments: Canada 7s on the Horizon in February, What’s Its Status
NZ officially announced it’s withdrawing from the upcoming World Rugby 7s tournaments in Spain due to domestic COVID MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) regulations. World Rugby has made changes to the tournament in Malaga January 21-23 with Germany replacing NZ in the men’s competition and Belgium replacing NZ in the women’s competition.
It’s good news for Germany and former Canada coach Damian McGrath, the current coach of Germany. He ends up in Pool B with Australia, Ireland and Japan. It’s also good news for the Canadian women’s 7s team who had NZ in their pool. The pools have been shifted so now Poland is in Canada’s pool replacing NZ while Belgium takes Poland’s spot in Pool A.
The tournament after Malaga is also in Spain, Seville, January 28-30. There’s no reason to believe it won’t go ahead as well. There are whispers about the Canada 7s in Vancouver February 26-27, will it go ahead with the current COVID framework in BC? Hopefully we’ll get an update in the next week.
from NZ Herald
The long-awaited return of New Zealand’s men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams to the World Series circuit has been abruptly ended due to Covid-19 complications.
Both the Black Ferns and All Blacks Sevens teams had been scheduled to compete in their first tournaments since March 2020 later this month. However, the government’s extension of MIQ protocols until at least late-February has proven to be too big of a hurdle for the squads to overcome.
Men’s coach Clark Laidlaw was left frustrated by the announcement, on a day their 2022 squads were also named.
“We all thought maybe vaccines and boosters would allow us to be able to travel and be back playing, doing our job; it’s what we get paid to do, it’s what we love doing, so it’s definitely disappointing and frustrating,” Laidlaw told NZME.
“The other side of the coin is: we can’t control it, so we have already talked as a group that… we have to crack on and prepare so that when the borders do open we have no excuses.”
Both squads are now hoping to send players to take part in as many domestic tournaments and games as possible, while also undertaking their own training camps, while they wait for new international plans to be confirmed.
2022 is a significant year on the Rugby Sevens calendar, with the Commonwealth Games (Birmingham, July 28-August 8) and the World Cup (Cape Town, September 9-11) looming as major overseas events.
Laidlaw says both teams’ international rivals will not miss their absence from these important build-up events.
“It’s going to be two years with no overseas rugby apart from Olympics, but I’m not sure the rest of the world will be that fussed that they’ve had six tournaments and we’ve had none. I think they’ll be enjoying the opportunity to try and get ahead of us.
“We just need to keep our heads down, get back preparing really well and fingers crossed and god willing we can rejoin the World Series and start testing ourselves again as we build towards Birmingham and Cape Town.”
from World Rugby
Following a thrilling double header at the Emirates Dubai 7s, which saw South Africa men and Australia women take home the silverware, attention now turns to Spain where Malaga will host the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time.
Taking place on 21-23 January, Spain prepares to make its debut as a host nation where the Estadio Cuidad de Malaga will welcome 16 mens and 12 womens teams for three days of non-stop action. Malaga will become the first new host city in the womens competition since Hamilton in New Zealand in 2020 and the 18th overall.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand mens and womens teams are unable to travel to Spain for the Malaga and Seville events and will be replaced by Germany and Belgium, respectively.
Play will kick-off at 09:00 local time on Friday, 21 January with a womens Pool C encounter between Russia and Brazil before Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists France take on England.
Hosts Spain will face Dubai winners Australia, Ireland and Belgium in Pool A.
Pool B will see Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Fiji take on Poland before both sides go on to play Canada and USA in the pool stage.
The mens competition will commence after the first round of womens pool play on day one with Pool Ds Kenya and Canada getting things underway. Completing the line-up in Pool D is France and Wales.
Pool A will feature Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallists, Fiji, Dubai champions South Africa, England and Scotland.
Pool B includes Germany, Australia, Ireland and Japan while hosts Spain will take on USA, Samoa and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Argentina in Pool C.
Completing the pool line-up is Kenya, Wales, France and Canada who make up Pool D.
Day two of the tournament will commence at 09:00 local time with the last of the womens pool matches. The third and final day will kick off at 09:30 and will feature the Cup finals for both the mens and womens tournaments to determine the winners of the inaugural HSBC Spain Sevens in Malaga.
The 2022 Series continues as the sport looks to capitalise on a highly successful and impactful Olympic Games played in front of a huge global television audience, which generated more than 22 million video views and over 100 million social media impressions across World Rugbys digital platforms.
Rugby sevens fans around the world can watch the action via live stream on World Rugby digital platforms including www.world.rugby, You Tube and Facebook in countries where there is no national broadcaster covering the event.
HSBC Spain Sevens, Malaga pools
Pool A: Spain, Australia, Ireland, Belgium
Pool B: USA, Canada, Fiji, Poland
Pool C: Russia, Brazil, France, England
Pool A: England, Fiji, South Africa, Scotland
Pool B: Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan
Pool C: USA, Spain, Samoa, Argentina
Pool D: Kenya, Canada, France, Wales