After two tune-up matches with Springbok Women, Kenya now turn attention to World Cup repechage

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya Lionesses in action against Madagascar at the Nyayo National Stadium. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

The national women’s rugby 15s team, Kenya Lionesses, jetted back home yesterday morning from South Africa where they took part in two Test matches against hosts Springboks Women on Thursday, August 12, and Monday, August 16.

Lionesses were using the two friendlies as part of their preparations for a do-or-die repechage qualifying match on August 25 against Colombia at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, as they bid to qualify for the first time to the Women’s Rugby World Cup rescheduled for October 8 to November 12, 2022, in New Zealand.

In the first Test match last week, the Lionesse received a 66-0 hammering after fielding team B.

They, however, produced a stellar performance in their second match to leave coach Felix ‘Ade’ Oloo optimistic of a solid performance when they welcome Colombia next week Wednesday.

Oloo, with the assistance of his assistant Mitch Ocholla, made an almost complete overhaul to the team that lost 66-0 in the first Test match, making 11 changes by bringing in experienced sevens stars, and the move bore fruits as Lionesses led South Africa 27-22 with two minutes to go, only for the hosts to steal a last-minute converted try to win the encounter 29-27.

“The players put their best foot forward, and losing the game in the last two minutes says a lot about our side and what we want to achieve as a team,” Oloo told People Sport.

“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the repechage and we’re on course,” added coach Oloo who also lauded his assistant coach, saying, “Ochola has done a commendable job and can’t take away from him.” 

In the second Test match, captain Joy Kendagor as well as Prisca Nyerere, Sophia Ayieta, Sinaida Nyachio, Anne Njeri, and Mercy Migongo were rested with evergreen and speedster Janet Okello taking up the fullback role.

Linet Moraa operated on the right-wing with Philadelphia Orlando and Cynthia Camila Atieno playing at the centres.

Christabel Lindo took charge of the left-wing as Grace Adhiambo (fly-half), Judith Auma (scrum-half role) and Leah Wambui, Sheila Chajira, and Michelle Akinyi took charge of the back row roles.

Peruce Muyuka and Bernadette Olesia did duty in the second row as Everlyne Kalemera, Staycy Atieno and match stand-in captain Juliet Nyambura played in the front row.

Coach Oloo hinted that more changes could still be effected with a different set of players coming in against Colombia in a tactical move.

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