Kenya Lionesses fail to roar

Friday, July 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya’s Grace Okulu (L) is tackled by New Zealand’s Ruby Tui (1) and Stacey Fluhler during the women’s pool A rugby sevens match between New Zealand and Kenya during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. Photo/AFP

Kenya Lionesses will be hoping for a better outing when they face Great Britain in their final pool match in an effort to secure the best loser position in the ongoing women’s Olympics Sevens rugby games after a disappointing day one

Lionesses lost 29-7 to Rio 2016 silver medalist-cum-world women’s sevens series all time defending champions New Zealand before Kenya dared the Russia Olympics Committee (ROC) in a confident fight that was lost in the second half. 

Lionesses have not played Great Britain but have met and lost to England in the 2016 France women’s sevens and have beaten Wales in the 2018 Commonwealth games.

Lionesses conceded five converted tries and posted two tries through Janet ‘Shebesh’ Okello who scored all the points for Kenya through her swift wheels and kicking flair to set the stadium on fire when Kenya’s comeback attempt came to within two points to tie with ROC.

The Pool A fixture was a match both sides were chasing after losing respective openers to New Zealand for Kenya while Russia had lost to Great Britain by just a conversion.

The first half against Russia was a period where the Lionesses enjoyed playing to their strengths despite chasing the game after discovering the scoring lanes late in the half to break tied at two tries but with one missed conversion to trail 12-14.

Kristina Seredina extended Russia’s lead to two converted tries through her fifth minute try but that was not the end as Lionesses kicked off their comeback in the final two minutes where Lionesses breached their 22m confinement when speedster Janet Okello hauled in her tacklers to dash 80m to score and converted to shorten the chase to within a converted try.

The second half was, however, a different tale as Lionesses conceded three converted tries.

ROC, currently placed second in front of Great Britain, will thus be awaiting to either make a direct quarterfinals cut as either second placed side or best loser with a final pool match at hand. 

Final slot

This was after ROC lost 12-14 to Great Britain in their opener before a 35-12 win over Kenya to switch places with Great Britain who must now beat Kenya to secure one of the two final slots into the knockouts despite a weaker points difference compared to Fiji in Pool B who have a positive points difference and China from Pool C who are within reach should they score 30 points unanswered in their final fixture. 

Only Kenya has not registered a win in the pool and New Zealand is unbeaten thus an equally fair chance for a slot in the top eighth knockouts is open to Kenya depending on the scores against Great Britain where for a positive points difference, coach Felix Oloo will need to score unanswered 46 points.

Meanwhile defending champions Australia ran riot against Japan whitewashing them 48-0 before their second win off a 26-10 against China.

More on Sports