New Zealand rugby rarely needs any favours but the Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that both the women’s and men’s Kiwi teams have been declared 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series champions.
World Rugby was forced to accept defeat on Tuesday and cancel the remaining legs of the World Series due to restrictions caused by the pandemic. The global suspension of sport and the difficulty of air travel, coupled with the complexities of quarantine periods, meant it was logistically impossible to complete the season.
Rugby, as a major contact sport, is still suspended in almost every country. Ironically, New Zealand is the only country where the sport is currently being played, as their lockdown restrictions have eased after only a handful of new coronavirus cases in the past six weeks were reported.
There were four legs of the men’s draw to play and three in the women’s draw. In the latter category, NZ enjoyed a 16 point lead, having won four of the five completed tournaments. But on the men’s side, the battle between New Zealand and South Africa was still well poised.
For the Blitzboks, it was a particularly big blow as they were 11 points adrift of New Zealand and…