Lionesses seek to complete job in Elgon Cup return leg

By Clement Wekulo: Friday, July 12th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby


Kenya national rugby women's team in action against Uganda in the Elgon Cup. [File]

National women’s rugby 15s team, Lionesses will be out to retain the Elgon Cup when they face Uganda in the return leg at the Kyadondo Rugby Club, Kampala tomorrow.

The Lionesses, who departed for the Ugandan capital on Wednesday evening, carry a solid advantage to the return fixture having thumped the Lady Cranes 44-13 in the first leg and this makes them overwhelming favourites in the Kampala contest.

Despite having one hand on the title, Lionesses coach Felix Oloo says the tie is far from over and they will not take chances.

“It is not over until it’s over. We want to start on a high, something which we failed to do in the first leg when we really struggled in the opening minutes,” Oloo told Standard Sports.

“Uganda are at home and this makes it a completely different match since they will be buoyed by the home fans so we have to be at our best in order to get a good result,” said Oloo.

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They say you should not fix it if it’s not broken. However, Oloo has opted to take a different approach, ringing seven changes from the side that did duty in the first leg. That is almost half the team.

The changes have seen five uncapped players introduced to the squad and they are set for their maiden appearance in national colours tomorrow.

The debutants are Winfred Maina, Winnie Owino, Anne Njeri, Victoria Gichure and Diana Awino. Meanwhile, Millicent Opala is set to make her first appearance for the team in four years.

“The changes are purely tactical and I also want to give game-time to more players so that they can get accustomed to this stage ahead of the World Cup qualifiers,” Oloo said.

“The debutants possess national team quality and they will be useful since they have proven that they deserve a chance to play,” added Oloo.

The evergreen Philadelphia Olando, who bagged a hat-trick of tries in the first leg, retains the captaincy and will feature at centre alongside Celestine Masinde.

Janet Okello has received the nod to feature at full back while Vice-captain Imogen Hooper has been tasked with marshalling the front row.

Kenya and Uganda are using the Elgon Cup to prepare for the 2021 World Cup qualifiers slated for South Africa next month.

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