It's now or never for Shujaa in Challenger Series in Germany

Kenya Shujaa players; Lameck Ambetsa (L) outpace his teammate Brian Mutua during training session at Kasarani Annex on May 10, 2024. The team is preparing for the HSBC Sevens challenger in Germany on May 18-19, 2024. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Shujaa captain Anthony Omondi is confident Kenya has the talent and quality to push the team to victory in Munich as the final leg of the World Rugby Challenger Series kicks off on Saturday in Germany.

Kenya Sevens are in Group C alongside Chile, Japan and Portugal and Omondi says they will approach each game at a time as they aim to get back to the World Rugby Sevens Series main event next season.

Shujaa aim to secure a top-four finish in Munich, which would qualify them for the promotion playoff in Madrid at the end of the month. This Challenger Series playoff will determine which teams will join the HSBC SVNS in 2025.

Uruguay men and China women lead the Challenger standings after two rounds in Dubai and Montevideo as the race to secure an all-important top four place reaches its climax this weekend.

Uruguay lead the men’s standings on 36 points following victory on home soil in Montevideo to add to their bronze medal at the opening round in Dubai.

Kenya were winners in Dubai and are in second place also on 36 points, ahead of Chile on 32 points and Germany on 26 points, who are narrowly ahead of Hong Kong China on points difference with all to play for in the final round in Munich.

“The preparation went well despite the hectic journey to Munich. As a team, we are going to approach each game as a final. This is it and we have to win it to get to the next phase as we continue with our goal of returning to the World Rugby Sevens Series,” said Omondi.

In the women’s category, Kenya Lionesses will be seeking to finish on the podium to stand a chance of making it to the playoffs after a mixed show in Dubai and Uruguay legs.

China have proven to be the dominant force in the women’s competition with a perfect 40 points after claiming gold in the first two rounds.

Argentina are in second position on 34 points following silver in Montevideo and bronze in Dubai.

Belgium and Uganda are third and fourth respectively, both on 28 points followed by Kenya on 24 points and Poland on 22 points who will both be looking to push for a top-four place in Krakow.

Kenya will be hoping Freshia Oduor and Edith Nairaka who are set for their Challenger debuts will bring new energy when the team takes to the field in Poland.

They come in for the Japan-based duo of Grace Okulu and Janet Okello who have not been released for this assignment by their club, MIE Pearls. Sheila Chajira captains the team to Poland.

Lionesses are in Group C with Belgium, Mexico and Poland.

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