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7s Call: Up Game

O’Connor said they had been aware of the changes and raised their griev­ances with World Rugby.
26 Dec 2019 17:24
7s Call: Up Game
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s rep Waisea Nacuqu during the Cape Town sevens on December 15, 2019. Photo: World Rugby

Fiji Rugby Union chief execu­tive officer John O’Connor said teams would need to align them­selves with the new sevens series for­mat introduced by World Rugby.

The format will see the Cup quarter-fi­nals erased from the Hamilton, Sydney and Paris tournaments of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series.

This means the four pool winners will automatically qualify for the semi-finals.

O’Connor said they had been aware of the changes and raised their griev­ances with World Rugby.

“They had advised us of the new for­mat and we have raised our concerns about the new format,” O’Connor said.

“Because the tournament is two days, this means we have to work harder and everybody needs to step up their game staring in Hamilton.

“We were aware of the new format. We raised our objections but we just have to align ourselves with it.

“The three tournaments in Hamilton, Sydney and Paris will be a two-day tournament with no quarterfinal so we just have to lift our game, train harder and go out there and perform in our pool games.”

World Rugby Comments

Meanwhile, World Rugby insist the new format will not be revoked despite anger from coaches and players.

South African media reports claim coaches and players are considering taking their grievances to the Interna­tional Court of Sport Arbitration (CAS) to try and get the move overturned.

Critics of the changes claim the in­sistence on running the World Sevens Series men’s and women’s events to­gether has meant that unless tourna­ments can run for three days – as hap­pened in Cape Town – there isn’t the time to fit in the last eight round. That is why for the next legs in Hamilton (Jan 25-26) and Sydney (Feb 1-2) – being staged over two days – the pool winners in the men’s events head straight to the final four. World Rugby believe the new format will deliver a less confusing fi­nal day for fans.

A World Rugby spokesman told Rug­byPass: “The situation remains that quarter-finals will not take place in Hamilton and Sydney. This was dis­cussed last year and we are trying to deliver more men’s and women’s events to create greater synergy. We want to create more opportunities for the women’s game as well and it is a fine balance.”

The series also forms a crucial part of Olympic preparation for the teams as they build up to the Tokyo 2020 Olym­pic Games at the end of July. The deci­sion to end quarter-finals for Hamilton and Sydney comes as the game’s gov­erning body launches the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.

Countries such as Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Mexico, Tonga, Uganda and Zimbabwe are involved and will all take part in the Olympic repechage in June 2020 to try and secure the final qualification place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Edited by Osea Bola

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