Hong Kong Sevens set to be pushed back six months

The Hong Kong Sevens tournament scheduled for April is set to be postponed by World Rugby and local organisers until October due to the novel coronavirus.

The South China Morning Post’s Jonathan White reported that the seventh leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series would be delayed six months as Hong Kong fights the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region.

There are now 50 confirmed cases of the virus in the city, which has hosted the most prestigious annual event on the rugby sevens calendar since 1976.

World Rugby are reportedly set to announce the postponement on Thursday.

The Singapore Sevens is set to be played a week after the Hong Kong tournament on April 11th and 12th.

There are also 50 confirmed cases of the virus in Singapore, which surely casts doubt over whether a tournament can be hosted there as well.

Questions also hang over the upcoming Global Rapid Rugby season, with Manuma Samoa to compete against five other teams from around Asia and the Pacific.

The Manuma are scheduled to play their first ever fixture on the 13th of March against South China Tigers in Hong Kong.

One of the other teams is the China Lions, a joint project by the China Rugby Football Union and the New Zealand province of Bay of Plenty, which would theoretically play their home games in China, where COVID-19 originated.

Global Rapid Rugby chief executive Mark Evans told AAP he is hopeful the Lions and Tigers can be retained for the competition, with their home games set to be switched to later in the tournament.

"These are uncharted waters," Evans said.

"We're spending a lot of time mapping out different scenarios and different contingencies depending on how the situation develops."

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