Credit: Kawowo Sports | MATIAS MATUS ACEBO

World Rugby has unveiled plans for the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Five women’s and four men’s rounds are scheduled for a condensed 2021 series kicking off in the month of May.

The series will kick off with back-to-back women’s rounds in Paris on May 15-16 and May 22-23. And will then take a break for the Tokyo Olympic Games and recommence with a men’s event in Singapore on October 29-30.

This will be followed by joint men’s and women’s rounds in Hong Kong on November 5-7 and Dubai on December 3-4. Both men’s and women’s rounds will climax at a joint event in Cape Town on December 10-12.

Discussions are still ongoing with Vancouver and London to have two additional rounds added to the calendar for the 2021 season.

World Rugby have stressed that health and safety of players, teams and all involved remains the top priority as all stakeholders continue to closely monitor global developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and will work together with all relevant authorities to ensure safe and secure delivery of the events.

New Zealand are the reigning champions of both the women’s and men’s Series after being crowned winners of the 2020 series, which was brought to an early conclusion due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Following their promotion from the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in 2020, Japan will join the men’s series as a core team. Uganda finished 7th in the series ahead of fellow African representatives Zimbabwe.

Ian Munyani attempts to break a tackle against Paraguay. Credit: Kawowo Sports | MATIAS MATUS ACEBO

In this Olympic year, the England, Scotland and Wales teams will combine to compete as “GB Sevens” in both the men’s and women’s series. This thus creates two additional invitational places for teams to participate in the men’s 2021 series events, with invitational teams to be announced in due course.

Also, given the unique and unprecedented nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its various international travel restrictions and quarantine measures, it has been accepted that some teams may not be able to travel or participate in all 2021 series events.

Where possible, World Rugby have said they will invite replacement teams to fill the places of any core series team unable to participate in a series event.

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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