[HONG KONG, 17 December, 2020]: The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) and World Rugby today announced the rescheduling of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens to 5-7 November 2021.
In light of the continuing complications arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the organizers believe rescheduling to late 2021 offers the best opportunity for the tournament to be staged to the high standards of the HKRU.
The move follows the cancellation of the Lunar New Year fireworks and other celebrations next February, and the similar postponement of international events scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in the First Quarter 2021.
Given increasing infection rates both at home and abroad, and on-going travel restrictions and quarantines, it was felt that the environment remains too uncertain to support hosting the event next April.
When presented with the opportunity to host in autumn, the HKRU and World Rugby mutually agreed that it was in the best interests of the tournament, the teams, and the fans, to accept. World Rugby has further confirmed that the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in November will be the final round of the 2020/21 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with the teams assured of a rousing welcome and a fitting grand finale.
Hong Kong will host the 2021/22 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament as per usual in April 2022, unleashing two Sevens weekends on the public in six months.
“We are disappointed at not being able to proceed with our detailed operational planning for April, but will press ahead with planning for November, when we hope that global vaccination efforts may support the easing of travel quarantines and local gathering restrictions and enable us to host the type of Sevens to which fans the world over are accustomed,” said Robbie McRobbie, Chief Executive of the HKRU.
“Absence, we hope, makes the heart grow fonder, so we are confident that a November Sevens will ensure a very unique, if long delayed, celebration of the 45th Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,” added McRobbie.
It is the first time in the tournament’s 45-year history that the Hong Kong Sevens will be played outside of its traditional spring window. The Hong Kong Rugby Union remains highly appreciative of the support of World Rugby and the participating unions, Hong Kong Government, co-title sponsors Cathay Pacific and HSBC, and the event’s other partners and stakeholders, and most especially the fans, during this challenging period.
The Hong Kong Sevens Established in 1976 and organised annually by the Hong Kong Rugby Union, the Hong Kong Sevens is the world’s premier international sevens event, marking its 45th year in 2021. Since 1999, the Hong Kong Sevens has been a part of World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Series. The Hong Kong Rugby Union is the only international rugby union to have hosted two Rugby World Cup Sevens, in 1997 and 2005.
Hong Kong Rugby Union The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) was founded in 1952, and became an affiliated union of World Rugby in 1988. In 1968, the HKRU became a founding member of Asia Rugby and remains committed to the development of the game in Asia. In 2008, the HKRU presented the first neutral-venue Bledisloe Cup – followed by a second match in 2010. In 2013, the HKRU hosted the first British & Irish Lions match played in Asia and the following year hosted the first regional Olympic qualifier tournament for Rugby Sevens. The HKRU is a member of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and provides competitive and social rugby opportunities for men and women at every age and skill level.
Released on behalf of the Hong Kong Rugby Union by Elite Step Asia. For further information please contact Sean Moore (English-language media) or Andy Yeung (Chinese-language media) on +852 9095 8889 or +852 9491 8589 or by email on [email protected] or [email protected].