Crushing pain as Sevens canceled once more

Finance | Maisy Mok 5 Aug 2021

The annual Hong Kong Sevens have been canceled for the second year in a row due to uncertainty regarding Covid-19 variants and travel restrictions around the globe.

Preparation work for the annual Cathay Pacific/HSBC tournament was already under way when the Hong Kong Rugby Union and World Rugby reached the decision to cancel, they said yesterday.

The three-day sporting carnival was scheduled to return on April 1 to 3 and then pushed to November 5 to 7. It was also canceled last year.

The union said it had plans to impose anti-epidemic measures such as full-on-ground bubbling of teams and operations staff.

However, hosting the tournament became unfeasible as many travel restrictions remain with just 92 days before kickoff.

Robbie McRobbie, chief executive of the union, said: "Concerns over the Delta variant and intensifying travel restrictions have complicated matters significantly. Given these trends, the decision to cancel was painful, but not difficult, particularly with expectations high that with vaccination rates increasing daily, we can welcome the Sevens back in true rugby style in April [next year]," he added.

No tickets were placed on sale for this year's tournament.

The last time the tournament was held was in April 2019.

Fiji secured their fifth consecutive title that year.

Forty teams from 34 international rugby unions played that year in front of 120,000 spectators.

Last year's edition was supposed to be held in April but was postponed to October. Four months before the event was supposed to start, the cancellation announcement was made due to continued global uncertainty surrounding the intensifying pandemic.

Last year's cancellation marks the first time the Hong Kong Sevens was scrapped since their debut in 1976.

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