GIRLS OPTIMISTIC

Lionesses face Colombia as they seek to qualify for repechage

The winner will qualify for the repechage in June.

In Summary

•Should Kenya qualify for the global extravaganza, they will face a baptism of fire from hosts and World Cup champions New Zealand, Australia and Wales. 

•The Lionesses finished second in the African qualifiers held in 20-19 in South Africa,  beating Uganda 37-5 and Madagascar 35-5 before losing to hosts South Africa 39-0 in the final.

Sheila Chajira with ball fends off a Uganda opponent in a past match
File Sheila Chajira with ball fends off a Uganda opponent in a past match

Kenya Lionesses face Colombia in a rescheduled Rugby World Cup qualifier on March 27.

The match was set to be played a year ago but was postponed owing to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya Lionesses have been training since November in readiness for the tie and will intensify preparations this month. The venue for the match will be decided in the next couple of days,according to the Kenya Rugby Union.

Head coach Felix Oloo, who was with the Sevens squad for the Madrid Sevens for the past two weeks, said the team is relishing the challenge of playing the South Americans who he termed as physical.

 He said Kenya will have to adapt and play smart rugby if they are to outwit Columbia in the qualifier at the end of the month. "We have analysed them and we know what they bring to the table. However,  we must be tactically astute and smart,” he added.

The Lionesses finished second in the African qualifiers held in 2019 in South Africa, beating Uganda 37-5 and Madagascar 35-5 before losing 39-0 in the final to hosts South Africa.

The winner will qualify for the repechage in June, where they join other teams from Asia, Europe and Oceania in  pursuit of a single slot to the Rugby World Cup slated for New Zealand in September.

Should Kenya qualify for the global extravaganza, they will face a baptism of fire from hosts and World Cup champions New Zealand, Australia and Wales. 

Elsewhere, Shujaa and Lionesses finished second overall in the Madrid Sevens held over the weekend .

Shujaa came up short in the final losing 45-7 for the second week running in the Spanish city. Shujaa had also finished second in the round-robin format with the South Americans finishing first last week.

Innocent Simiyu's charges trailed 26-0 at the half-time to the well oiled Argentina side. Kenya had made light work of Portugal, winning 26-12, beat Spain 19-17 and Chile 15-5. They, however,  lost 29-12 to USA and 36-19 to Argentina in the pool matches.

The women's team lost 17-5 to Russia, 22-0 to Spain and 12-10 to Poland and 19-0 to Russia in the final.