AAP Rugby

NZ given both World Sevens Series titles

By AAP Newswire

New Zealand have been awarded the men's and women's World Sevens Series titles after World Rugby cancelled the remainder of the season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tournaments in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong were cancelled on the men's tour, while the women's circuit lost rounds in the United States, Paris and Hong Kong.

"While it is very disappointing for players, fans, organisers and everyone involved ... the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and wider society remains the number one priority," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

"These difficult decisions have been taken following detailed consultation with our union partners and in line with advice from the various government and public health agencies around the world."

The New Zealand men's team claim a 13th title after winning three of the six rounds that were completed before the spread of COVID-19 forced the suspension of all major sport around the world.

South Africa finished 11 points back in second place with 2019 champions and Olympic gold medallists Fiji third.

The Black Ferns women's team had looked well on their way to a second successive title, and a sixth in eight years of the circuit, with four tournament triumphs in five rounds before the coronavirus shutdown.

Australia, who will defend their Olympic title in Tokyo next year, were second with Canada taking third place.