Blitzbok's Seabelo Senatla against Japan during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens at Cape Town Stadium on December 13 2019. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES
Blitzbok's Seabelo Senatla against Japan during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens at Cape Town Stadium on December 13 2019. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

In response to the coronavirus epidemic that is ravaging East Asia‚ World Rugby has rescheduled the lucrative World Rugby Sevens tournaments that take place in Hong Kong and Singapore in early April.

The Hong Kong event‚ the World Rugby Sevens showpiece tournament in the 10-legged series‚ was scheduled to take place on April 3-5. The Singapore event was booked for April 11-12 but the rounds will now take place on October 16-18 (Hong Kong) and October 10-11 (Singapore).

In a statement‚ World Rugby said it needed to put the health of players first.

“The health and safety of our players‚ fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. This prudent decision has been taken in order to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines‚” the statement read.

The scheduling of the tournaments further than June‚ July‚ August or September dates may have been influenced by the schedule of the Tokyo Olympics.

Sevens Rugby is an Olympic sport but the majority of the teams have already booked their spots.

SA qualified through being in the top four of the World Series rankings, while the rest of the 12 teams will come from six regional champions‚ the hosts and a team that will qualify through the repechage tournament, which is set to take place in Europe.