March 20, 2020 / 3:15 PM / 21 days ago

Rugby-World Rugby postpones, cancels more events due to coronavirus

March 20 (Reuters) - World Rugby has postponed several tournaments and World Cup qualifiers due to the coronavirus outbreak, while June’s Olympic qualifiers are under review, the governing body said on Friday.

Men’s and women’s World Cup regional qualifying events, Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris, the women’s Sevens Series tournament in Langford and the final men’s Sevens Challenger Series event have been postponed.

World Rugby said they were consulting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in case they are unable to go ahead with the 12-team Olympic Games repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June 20-21.

“We are in close dialogue with the IOC relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final repechage tournament, should that be required,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

“We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are currently considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.”

The World Rugby Under-20 Championship that was to be held from June 28-July 18 in northern Italy has been cancelled after discussions with the Italian rugby federation.

Italy is one of the worst-hit countries with the number of deaths surpassing mainland China, where the virus originated.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 245,000 people and more than 10,000 have died. Italy has over 41,000 cases with 3,405 deaths. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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