Organisers cancel Ariel Re Sevens tournament
Sean Field-Lament conceded there was no choice but to cancel the Ariel Re Bermuda International Sevens tournament this year.
Having seen the tournament cancelled last year because of the spread of Covid-19, organisers have been forced to also call off this year’s event, scheduled for March 13 and 14, because of the ongoing threat and restrictions surrounding the virus.
“Obviously the Bermuda Rugby Football Union is extremely disappointed with the cancellation of the Ariel Re Bermuda International Sevens tournament,” said Field-Lament, the president of the BRFU.
“This event has been extremely successful and has put Bermuda firmly in the map with United States collegiate rugby as a premium event.
“However, we must be pragmatic about where we find ourselves in context of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Since the inception in 2016, the tournament has grown in participation and popularity, with teams from the United States, Canada and a representatives team of Bermuda taking part, with both men and women's sides competing at the National Sports Centre.
However, owing to the existing government restrictions of rugby being in phase 1 which include a maximum of ten people permitted, no contact and social-distancing requirements, Field-Lament reaffirmed a tournament of any sort was effectively impossible to stage.
“Due to our sport being listed in phase one by the Government, it effectively prohibits the tournament taking place,” he added.
“In addition with incoming teams having to adhere to the quarantine provisions that are in place for the foreseeable future, the difficult decision was made to cancel the tournament in advance.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of our sponsors and overseas partners, and look forward to recommencing this popular annual event in the future.”
It is not only the tournament that the pandemic has wreaked havoc with on the local calendar with domestic league action remaining on hiatus, while the men’s national side are still waiting for the opportunity to play their long-awaited Americas Rugby Challenge play-off against Cayman Islands.
“The impact of Covid-19 on local rugby cannot be underestimated,” Field-Lament said. “Obviously, the BRFU are keen to resume playing rugby and we will continue to monitor the developing situation with regards to Covid-19 on our island.
“However, certainly based on our Covid plan, we are looking for improvement in the current country status before acting. The BRFU is completely committed to ensuring that we do our part to limit the spread of Covid-19 within the community.
“We all long to resume playing our favourite sport and will do so with much enthusiasm when safe to do so.”