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New Zealand performs the haka after the cup final win against Australia on day two of the HSBC Canada Sevens 2020 at BC Place Stadium on 8 March, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

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New Zealand declared men and women Sevens champs after World Rugby ends season

Nairobi, Kenya, Jun 30 – New Zealand have been declared both the men’s and women’s Sevens Series champions after World Rugby cancelled the remaining legs of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Rugby announced the decision on Tuesday morning, after a consultation process that looked at the possibility of concluding the season in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

The remaining legs were scheduled to move to Langford, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The decision follows detailed and constructive dialogue with the host and participating unions, and has been taken with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority, and in line with the relevant national government and public health authority advice,” World Rugby said in their statement.

Kenya’s Shujaa was placed 12th in the standings with 35 points after the first six legs.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Lionesses’ dream of earning promotion will have to wait for another one season after the proposed inaugural Challenger Series event originally scheduled for 28-29 March in Stellenbosch, South Africa, was also cancelled.

New Zealand topped both the men’s and women’s standings before the pandemic interrupted the Series with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds successfully completed.

The Black Ferns Sevens had topped the podium in four of the five rounds in the women’s Series so far, while the All Blacks Sevens had claimed three victories and five podium finishes in the six rounds completed in the men’s Series.

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Olympic champions Australia finish second in the women’s Series with Canada in third.

In the men’s Series, the 2018 champions South Africa finish in second place with Olympic and 2019 Series champions Fiji in third. There will be no relegation from the women’s or men’s Series in 2020.

World Rugby has also announced there will be no promotion or relegation this season.

As a result of these amendments, seedings for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be adapted to include results from the 2021 Series to ensure they provide the most robust and accurate representation of current form when the Games commence in July 2021.

“While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved to have to cancel these events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority,” said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

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