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Lionesses put up a good show at World Rugby 7s Challenger Series

Kenya Lionesses and China players in action during their Group D match of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series at Estadio Santa Laura, Chile on August 12 2022. [World Rugby] 

Kenya Lionesses put up a good show at the ongoing World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series at Estadio Santa Laura, in Chile after winning all their Group D matches.

Kenya was due to play their quarterfinal match last night.

The Lionesses were in class of their own beating Chile 17-15 in their first match before thrashing South Africa 31-5 to advance to the last eight on Friday night with a game in hand.

Kenya then wrapped up their preliminary round in style after rallying to beat hosts Chile 15-5 yesterday.

Other teams that had progressed to the quarterfinals with a match to go are Kazakhstan, Japan and Poland.

The winner of three-day event to be decided today will earn their status as a core team on the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series. The tournament has attracted 12 women’s and 12 men’s teams representing all six World Rugby regions.

Captain Judith Auma led from the front grounding a brace of tries with Grace Adhiambo also bagging a brace and five successful conversions to inspire the Lionesses to an emphatic win against their continental rivals and consequently secure their slot in the quarters.

Japan-based star Janet Okello also scored a try against the South Africans.

Unlike their second match, the Dennis Mwanja-trained side had to dip deep to see off former core Series team China 17-15 in their first match.

Impressive Grace Adhiambo and Naomi Amuguni landed unconverted try each before Adhiambo successfully converting Jean Bisella’s try to ensure Kenya make a positive start to the tournament.

It is the type of performance head coach Dennis Mwanja and his captain Judith Auma wanted if their pre-tournament comments are anything to go by.

“It is not beyond our capabilities to qualify but that will take a lot of growing up, there is no magic wand that can be waved to get instant results,” Mwanja told KRU media in an earlier interview.

“It is about the input as well, these girls don’t have many tournaments to play, they don’t have a lot of exposure. Making it to the knockouts will be good for us but what is important is taking it a game at a time.”

He continued: “As mentioned earlier, the team is rebuilding. This rebuilding team is a team that has to first of all get that confidence in high level competitions. Once they get their confidence going, then we can be able to challenge all other teams.”

Auma added: “As we head out to Chile, our expectations are high. The coach has done his job and it is our turn to do our bit.”