•Sydney, Australia and Hamilton, New Zealand will not host the series next year due to logistical challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, World Rugby added.
•Instead, Spain will play host for the first time with men’s and women’s events scheduled in Malaga and Seville from Jan. 21-23 and January 28-30.
The 2022 World Rugby Sevens Series will kick off with a pair of men’s and women’s rounds in Dubai starting November, while Hong Kong returns as a stop, the sport’s global body said on Tuesday as it announced its schedule.
Sydney, Australia and Hamilton, New Zealand will not host the series next year due to logistical challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, World Rugby added.
Instead, Spain will play host for the first time with men’s and women’s events scheduled in Malaga and Seville from Jan. 21-23 and Jan. 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 Nov. 26-27 followed by another on Dec. 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 Chief Executive 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 (Feb. 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).
“As ever, the health and welfare of players, fans and wider society continues to be our primary concern and we will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the safe delivery of the Series,” Gilpin said.
Meanwhile, Skinned knees could soon be a thing of the past in rugby after the sport’s governing body amended its laws to allow players at all levels to wear tights or leggings during games.
Law 4 of the sport, which covers players’ clothing, previously only permitted women to wear “cotton blend tights or leggings, with single inside seam under their shorts and socks”, but has now been extended to all participants with immediate effect, World Rugby said on Tuesday.
The amendment has been implemented on “welfare and accessibility grounds” amid the increasing use of artificial surfaces.
“With some players susceptible to abrasions on artificial surfaces, the decision gives players the option to wear tights or leggings as a preventative measure, maximising access to the game,” World Rugby said.
“World Rugby will also work with unions and registered artificial turf providers to ensure that rigorous best-practice maintenance programmes are observed that minimise the risk of abrasions, particularly in relation to brushing and watering especially in hot conditions.”