The 2022 HSBC World 7s Series will feature 10 men’s and seven women’s rounds over six months, kicking off with a pair of combined men’s and women’s events in Dubai.
World Rugby while releasing the calendar of events, said the Emirates Dubai Sevens will host a behind closed doors round on 26-27 November, 2021, followed by a second event on 3-4 December with fans in attendance at The Sevens Stadium.
The Series will then return to Europe as Spain plays host for the first time with combined men’s and women’s events in Malaga and Seville on 21-23 and 28-30 January, 2022 respectively.
The new venues in Spain temporarily replace traditional Series hosts Sydney, Australia, and Hamilton, New Zealand, who were unable to host in 2022 due to the logistical challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in their region.
The men’s Series continues with North American rounds in Vancouver on 26-27 February and Los Angeles on 5-6 March before moving to Asia where Hong Kong returns to host a combined men’s and women’s event on 1-3 April, followed by a men’s event in Singapore on 9-10 April.
A women’s standalone event will take place in Langford, Canada, on 30 April-1 May before both men’s and women’s teams travel to a new Series venue in Toulouse, France, on 20-22 May where the women’s Series champions will be crowned.
The men’s Series concludes with the final event in London on 28-29 May.
The world governing body has also announced changes with the competing teams.
Japan join the men’s Series as a core team following their promotion as HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series champions in 2020.
Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai, as part of the standing agreement to play the calendar year 2021, before reverting to compete as national unions for the remainder of the 2022 Series, with England, Scotland and Wales participating in the men’s Series and England in the women’s Series.
The 16 men’s core teams after the Dubai events are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.
South Africa will enter the 2022 Series as defending champions after claiming the 2021 title in Edmonton, Canada, in September, while New Zealand, who were unable to compete in Canada, were the 2020 Series winners.
The 11 core women’s teams after the Dubai events are Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA.
New Zealand’s Black Ferns Sevens will be aiming to defend their title after being crowned champions in 2020.
Noting that Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds, a points system will be developed that promotes fairness for all competing teams, including those who comprise Great Britain.
This will also recognise situations where teams may not be able to participate in any rounds owing to COVID-19.
By Reginald Chandar