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Kenya Sevens settle 12th as Series declared over

Tuesday June 30 2020
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Kenya Sevens players and officials celebrate with the trophy after beating Uganda 31-0 in the final of the Africa qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Bosman Stadium, Johannesburg on November 9, 2019. PHOTO | RUGBY AFRIQUE |

By AYUMBA AYODI

Kenya Sevens has now settled 12th in the 2019/20 World Sevens Series after World Rugby (WR) declared the season over on Tuesday.

World Rugby have also declared New Zealand, who won the three legs in Cape Town, Hamilton and Vancouver, as the season’s champions after cancelling the remaining legs in  London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya are 12th in the Series with 35 points, having reached the main Cup quarter-finals twice in Cape Town and Hamilton while All Blacks lead with 115 points having claimed three victories and five podium finishes in the six rounds completed in the men’s Series.

At the same time, New Zealand women’s  team has also been declared the 2019/20 champions courtesy of being top of the standings before the pandemic interrupted the Series with five of the eight women’s rounds successfully completed.

The Black Ferns Sevens had topped the podium in four of the five rounds in the women’s Series so far with 96 points.

A statement from World Rugby indicated that the decision follows detailed and constructive dialogue with the host and participating unions. “It has been taken with the health and well-being of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority, and in line with the relevant national government and public health authority advice,” said the statement.

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In the men’s Series, the 2018 champions South Africa (104) finish in second place with Olympic and 2019 Series champions Fiji (83) coming third. There will be no relegation from the women’s or men’s Series in 2020.

World Rugby Challenger Series men’s and women’s final events will also not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Challenger Series was launched by World Rugby this year to boost rugby sevens’ development across the globe, particularly in emerging nations, and this objective remains a key priority, providing a promotion pathway into the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Japan are awarded the inaugural men’s Challenger Series title as they topped the rankings after the two completed events, claiming gold and bronze in the two rounds that took place earlier in 2020 in Chile and Uruguay. Japan will join the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 as the sixteenth core team.

There will be no promotion to the women’s Series this year as the inaugural Challenger Series event originally scheduled for March 28-29 in Stellenbosch, South Africa was not able to take place.

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 when the Games commence in July 2021.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont noted that 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 well-being 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.


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