Longer wait for Sevens
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has been further postponed to November next year because of the city's continued quarantine and travel restrictions.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union's chief executive, Robbie McRobbie, even warned that the repeated postponements might cause the Sevens to disappear from international calendars, even when the Kai Tak Sports Park was ready to open.
Hong Kong had been expected to host the tournament from April 3 to 6 next year, but the union and the sport's international governing body, World Rugby, said yesterday they were forced to reschedule to November 4 to 6 next year, the fifth postponement since the Sevens was last played in the SAR in 2019.
"The decision comes in response to the continuing uncertainty surrounding travel measures facing participating teams," they wrote in a statement.
"It is the longest postponement to date, and the hope remains that the interim period will see continued growth in vaccination rates, and the opening of Hong Kong's border to allow the Sevens to be held without disruption and with a full complement of teams," they added.
The union felt it was in the best interests of the tournament, the teams and fans to reschedule the Sevens to November, making it the first time the tournament is played after spring since it began in 1976.
The postponement will also not affect the Sevens scheduled to be held in 2023, as the union said it is capable of hosting the event with six months of preparation.
McRobbie said the union has always aimed to deliver the Sevens without jeopardizing community health. "Our only remedy is to postpone to remove any uncertainty for teams, fans and our operations financially."