Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa have been forced to withdraw their teams from upcoming World Rugby Sevens Series events in Spain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Rugby said New Zealand would not field teams at either the men’s or women’s tournaments in Malaga and Seville because of travel restrictions.
New Zealand’s men have been replaced in the line-up for the Malaga event by Germany, while Belgium will take the available place in the women’s competition.
Fiji’s women will also not compete but World Rugby said its men’s side could arrive in Malaga “in time to participate later in the competition in the placement matches.”
Their places in the two tournaments will not be offered to other nations, but Poland will participate as an invitational team in the men’s event in Malaga.
Samoa are also out of the men’s competition and have been replaced by Jamaica.
Travel restrictions imposed across the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to wreak havoc on the global sports calendar.
Pacific nations have been particularly impacted as many have been unable to leave their respective countries.
The competitions will be the first World Rugby Sevens Series events to be held in Spain.
Action at the Estadio Cuidad de Malaga is due to take place from Friday (January 21) to Sunday (January 23).
The Seville leg is then scheduled for January 28 to 30.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/ PACNEWS