Kenya one match away from 2021 global tourney in New Zealand

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 00:00 |
Kenya’s Philadelphia Olando taking the ball into contact against Laventer Ogutu in a past training session at the RFUEA grounds, Nairobi. Photo/ALEX NJUE

The Kenya Lionesses are one match away from their biggest tournament  in history, the 2021 Rugby Women’s World Cup taking place in New Zealand, after they beat the Uganda Lady Cranes 37-5 in their second qualifying match at the Bosman Stadium in South Africa yesterday.

Grace Adhiambo split the posts halfway into the first half, handing her side a 3-0 lead that they held on to the breather. 

Kenya were unsettled in the first half but improved after the break to register 34 points while conceding five.

Flanker Naomi Amuguni, who was making her debut for the national team, cut through the Lady Cranes defence, off loading to Janet Okello to land the first try in the match. 

Adhiambo’s conversion drifted wide for an 8-0 lead. Five minutes later, a sleek dummy by Adhiambo was bought by the Lady Cranes who created enough space for her to slice through. The Ugandan full back was ready to tackle Adhiambo but to her left side was Okello whose support came in handy as she landed her brace with the former’s conversion splitting the posts.

The Lionesses were very lethal with the ball in hand in the second half as they made their way to the opponent’s try line for the fifth time. Okello, who had the ball generously passed it to Stacy Atieno, who landed her maiden try in the qualifiers. Adhiambo’s boot, not having the best of days, missed the conversion.

With 20 minutes left, the Lady Cranes landed a corner post try, reducing the deficit to 20-5 after the conversion was short.

Adhiambo registered her name twice on the score sheet. In the first try, she spotted a gap in Uganda’s defence and cut through it to go over the whitewash while the second one originated from a classic interplay between Philadelphia Olando and Celestine Masinde on one side of the pitch. 

The Lionesses now prepare for the last and most crucial match of the qualifiers, a date with South Africa on Saturday. Win it and they are through to the World Cup. 

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