Rugby Rugby

Lionesses in tough Series qualifiers group

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Sinaida Aura of Kenya Lionesses evades a tackle during their Elgon Cup clash against Uganda in May. PHOTO/Raymond Mokhaya

Sinaida Aura of Kenya Lionesses evades a tackle during their Elgon Cup clash against Uganda in May. PHOTO/Raymond Mokhaya

NAIROBI, July 30 – National women’s sevens team has been drawn in a tough Pool B in the World Rugby Series qualifiers scheduled for August 22 and 23 in Dublin, Ireland.

The Kenya Lioness open their campaign against China who are out to maintain their core status, before facing Netherlands and 2016 Olympics bound Colombia in the 12-team tournament where only two nations will earn promotion to the 2015-16 Women’s World Rugby Series season.

The team that is in a non-residential training under the tutelage of head Coach Mike Shamiah, hopes to reach the Main Cup finals to qualify for their maiden appearance in the prestigious six-leg tournament.

The Lioness who will also be seeking to qualify for Rio 2016 Olympics when they battle for the only African slot in September, have not had a competitive match since edging out Uganda to retain the Elgon Cup in June.

Brazil, who have already qualified for the Olympics as hosts, will play Wales, Japan and Samoa in Pool A while hosts Ireland will take on an improving South Africa, Hong Kong and Mexico in Pool C.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, Ireland’s Director of Rugby Sevens Anthony Eddy said, “It’s massively important to get onto the sevens series circuit, it’s our number one goal, so we can play against the best teams in the world.

“If we are going to have a shot at the Olympic repechage we are going to have to play at the best level.”

“With 12 countries competing in this event from all over the world, this is a great opportunity to give the game more exposure in Ireland.”

New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Team GB are the other Rio 2016 qualified nations, while Mexico and Ireland have earned a spot in the global qualifier next year which will determine the 12th and final qualifier for the women’s event in Rio.

China and South Africa have experienced the pressure of a qualifier before, having safely negotiated the 2014 event in Hong Kong along with Fiji and France to enter the 2014-15 series.

Kenya’s fixtures in Dublin (+3GMT)

Saturday 22 August 2015

Kenya v China 1300hrs

Kenya v Netherlands 1554hrs

Kenya v Colombia 1838hrs

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