Lionesses edge China in Challenger Series

Kenya's Grace Adhiambo (right) in action against China.[World Rugby]

Kenya Lionesses begun their HSBC Challenger 2024 campaign in Dubai with a 17-12 victory over Pool B favorites China at The Sevens Stadium on Friday.

It was China who went ahead through Chen Keyi’s unconverted try for a 5-0 lead that they took into the break before Grace Okulu scored and converted for a 7-5 lead.

It was soon 12-7 to China when Liu Xiaoqian went over with Gu Yaoyao converting but the Lionesses responded with two tries from Stella Wafula and Judith Okumu to claim the victory.

On the other hand, Shujaa also begun the World Rugby Challenger Series on the front foot after thrashing Mexico 41-0.

Patrick Odongo and Kevin Wekesa scored a brace each as Shujaa continued with their impressive run after their disappointing performance in the 2023 World 7s Series, where they were relegated.

Kenya has been in an impressive form before this event, having secured victories in two tournaments, winning the Africa Men’s Sevens to qualify for the Paris Olympics and Safari Sevens.

The HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 will take place in three rounds on three continents between January and May, providing a clear promotion pathway to reach the pinnacle of World Rugby Sevens Series in 2025.

The top four placed men’s and women’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 teams, based on cumulative series points after the third round, will secure their opportunity to compete in the new high-stakes promotion and relegation play-off competition at the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid on 31 May – 2 June 2024 against the teams ranked ninth to 12th from HSBC SVNS 2024.

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