The coronavirus pandemic claims another sporting event: Cape Town sevens cancelled

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another sporting event after the Cape Town Sevens were cancelled on Wednesday.

The tournament‚ the second one on the World Rugby Sevens series calendar‚ was scheduled to take place on December 4 to 6.

World Rugby has also cancelled the season-opening Dubai leg of the Sevens series.

The 2020/21 World Sevens series has already been curtailed because of the virus with New Zealand (men’s and women’s) being declared the winners.

The Singapore‚ Hong Kong‚ London and Paris legs of the 2020/21 series were still remaining before they were cancelled.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said it was disappointing that the Cape Town leg was cancelled‚ but with the complex travelling requirements for the 28 teams‚ it was a necessity.

“This is a very disappointing development but far from unexpected.

"The opening of air borders remains uncertain‚ the requirements of quarantining and the need for preparation time for teams really left us no choice‚” Roux said.

“Even if we had been able to fly in 28 teams the likelihood is that we would have had to play behind closed doors‚ which held little appeal considering the unique nature of the event.”

The Dubai and Cape Town legs of the Sevens series encompass more than just rugby‚ but are also seen as social events.

The Cape Town leg‚ in particular‚ has played a critical role in the acceleration of Cape Town Stadium as the premier sporting venue in the city.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said while the missing tournaments left massive voids‚ the health and safety of all those involved was the priority.

“While we share in the disappointment of players‚ teams‚ fans‚ hosts and everyone involved with the popular events in Dubai and Cape Town‚ this is a prudent decision taken with the health and wellbeing of the global rugby community and wider society as our top priority and guided by the relevant government and international public health authority advice‚” Gosper said.