The 2021 World 7s Series will include five women’s and four men’s rounds, according to the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series plans unveiled by World Rugby.
Given the unique circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic, together with the spectacle of the Olympic Games in July, World Rugby has worked closely together with partners, host organisations and participating unions to agree a compact and highly impactful Series in 2021.
The condensed 2021 Series schedule has five women’s and four men’s rounds, with the addition of a further two potential men’s events under discussion.
New Zealand are the reigning champions of both the women’s and men’s Series after being crowned winners of the 2020 edition, which was brought to an early conclusion with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds successfully completed prior to the onset of the pandemic.
In the men’s Series, Japan will join as a core team following their promotion from the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series in 2020, while it has been agreed that 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’ in 2021. This will create two additional invitational places for teams to participate in the men’s 2021 Series events, with invitational teams to be announced in due course.
The highly dynamic, skillful and athletic short form version of the game has been a huge hit around the globe since the Series was introduced in 1999, with its popularity growing year-on-year in a strong upwards curve, particularly in emerging rugby nations.
In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series saw record-breaking fan engagement figures with a year-on-year increase of 64 per cent across video views to 198 million, and the Series attracted more than 749,800 attendees to its events globally.