Kenya Lionesses miss Olympic ticket after losing the Africa Sevens finals to South Africa

Grace Adhiambo of Kenya (right) in action against Uganda.[Rugby Africa]

Kenya Lionesses showed resilience and determination on Sunday evening in Monastir, Tunisia despite losing the 2023 Rugby Africa Women's Sevens finals.

The Denis Mwanja led outfit lost only one match in the five games played in the two-day event, a sign that women's rugby has started to pick the pace.

A narrow 12-7 defeat to South Africa in the finals might have costed Kenya the ticket to the Paris Olympics next year but the result is a motivation to the girls who left it all on the pitch.

Madine Rodes gave the Ladies Makis a narrow 5-0 half time lead after touching down a corner post try after the hooter in a tight first half.

Kenya took a 7-5 lead immediately after the restart after Sharon Auma blitz past the South African defense to score near the posts, a try which captain Grace Adhiambo converted.

Two minutes to full time, Maris Tshiremba would break Kenyan hearts after breaking free with a a pair of wheels past Adhiambo in the left wing to score a try that Rodes converted to win 12-7.

Kenya made it to the final after thrashing local neighbors Uganda 27-0 in the semifinals.

The Lionesses were coming from an impressive preliminary group stage performance where they defeated Zambia 27-0, Ghana 41-0, and Madagascar 20-17 on Saturday to proceed to the semifinals.

Against Uganda, Janet Okello picked from where she left after sending Kenya 5-0 head with an unconverted try, a lead she stretched to 10-0 moments later for er brace.

The Japan based speed star completed her hat trick after sending Kenya to the break leading 17-0.

In the final half, Naomi Amuguni got Kenya's fourth try for a 22-0 lead before Sharon Auma sealed the 27-0 win.

In the other semifinals, South Africa blitzed past Zambia 31-0 to storm the finals.

Lionesses will have a final chance to redeem themselves in the final Repechage qualifiers next year.

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