Sevens legend Waisale Serevi was among a number of high-profile past players who bemoaned the postponement of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, though they felt it was the right decision in the wake of the deadly coronavirus threat sweeping the world.
World Rugby and the Hong Kong Rugby Union were expected on Thursday to announce that the Hong Kong Sevens, scheduled for April 3-5, is to be postponed, possibly until October.
The Singapore Sevens, one week after Hong Kong, is also expected to be postponed.
— Richard Newell (@RichNewz) February 13, 2020
According to the South China Morning Post, Serevi sent five crying emojis in a text message when asked about the Hong Kong Sevens’ postponement.
“When asked to express his feelings on the Hong Kong Sevens being postponed during a text message conversation, Serevi simply sent five crying emojis, declining to elaborate when pressed further about his views.”
Both Hong Kong Rugby Union and World Rugby were to be making an official announcement regarding the postponement later on Thursday.
Also expressing their disappointment was England’s Ben Ryan and American stalwart Tommy Smith.
Ryan is a popular figure in Hong Kong, having coached Fiji to victory at the Sevens in the past and who also led the country to Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“It’s obviously a real shame but they have to put the health of those involved and attending first so it’s the right thing to do if it’s postponed,” Ryan told the SCMP. “[If it’s] October, it means two Hong Kong Sevens in a six-month period. It makes more sense to move it to June [before the Tokyo Olympics] but who knows what other issues there are or what World Rugby have told them time wise.”
Smith played at the Hong Kong Sevens several times with the American Eagles during the 80s and 90s, delighting fans his American football quarterback passes, had planned to attend the tournament this year.
“It’s sad and unfortunate,” Smith told the Post. “But safety first. In an Olympic year the timing is very unfortunate as the Hong Kong Sevens are the pinnacle of seven-a-side rugby.”