IN THE FOLD

Lionesses to grace Safari Sevens tournament

The Safari Sevens returns after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it will be held behind closed doors.

In Summary

• The Lionesses resumed training on Tuesday and will be using the tournament to prepare for the Dubai Invitational tournament in December.

• “We want to have Uganda come in as well as three other teams to enable us have a competitive event,” added Ndale.

Janet Okelo of Kenya scores a try against ROC
Janet Okelo of Kenya scores a try against ROC
Image: REUTERS

Kenya Lionesses will play at the Safari Sevens slated for the end of this month at Nyayo Stadium.

The Lionesses resumed training on Tuesday and will be using the tournament to prepare for the Dubai Invitational tournament in December.

This will be the team's first tournament since the Tokyo Olympics in July where they won one match and lost three to finish ninth in the global extravaganza.

Felix Oloo' s charges lost 29-7 to eventual gold medallists New Zealand, 35-12 to Russia, and 31-0 to Great Britain to drop to the classification matches where they edged Japan 21-17.

This was the girls' second stab at the Olympics having graced the 2016 edition in Rio Brazil.

Director of the Women's Rugby Moses Ndale said they were keen to bring in Uganda for the two-day tournament alongside one or two more women's teams to adequately prepare the Lionesses for the invitational tour, where they will meet some top sides in the world.

“We want to have Uganda come in as well as three other teams to enable us have a competitive event,” added Ndale.

He said the long-term goal is to see Lionesses become a core side in the World Series which will in return prepare them for competition against the top teams in the world.

"Our long-term goal is to be a core team in the World Sevens Series. This will enable us to compete against quality opposition, just like the men's side and thus help in the growth of our team,” added Ndale.

The Safari Sevens returns after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it will be held behind closed doors.

Kenya Sevens will field two teams — Shujaa and Morans — with a third team expected to draw players from the Kenya Cup clubs.

Shujaa are the defending champions, having beaten South Africa 19-7 two years ago at the RFUEA ground.

Head coach Innocent Simiyu will be using the event to fine-tune his preparations for the Dubai Sevens in December.

Kenya Sevens are scheduled to resume training next week in readiness for the tournament after a ten-day rest period.

Ndale added that with the Lionesses 15s side missing out on the repechage after losing out to Colombia in the playoffs in August, focus will now turn to qualification for the 2025 Rugby World Cup.