Rugby Rugby

Confident Lionesses head out to Dublin

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Kenya 7s Lionesses captain, Catherine Abilla, during the team's training ahead of departure for Dublin for the World Series qualifiers. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Kenya 7s Lionesses captain, Catherine Abilla, during the team’s training ahead of departure for Dublin for the World Series qualifiers. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, August 18 – National women’s sevens team head coach, Mike Shamiah hopes to bank on the team’s athleticism to earn a maiden appearance in the World Rugby Series when qualifiers start this weekend in Dublin, Ireland.

The Lioness have been drawn in a tough Pool B alongside core side China, 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 has been in non-residential training for six weeks departs Tuesday night for the gruelling two-day competition with Shamiah confident they stand a chance of progressing to the knock out round.

“We have had a good run in-terms of preparation since we have done strength and conditioning as well as studying our opponents and sharpened our skills.

“Our key area of attack is speed and we have really done a lot on passing. I believe if we get the ball to our attackers, we will be able to carry the day because that’s our huge area of strength,” Shamiah, who succeeded Kevin Wambua as head coach, pointed out.

Kenya will open her campaign against China at 1300hrs local time (+3GMT), before facing Netherlands at 1554hrs and wrap up their preliminary round with Colombia at 1838hrs.

“We expect a running game against China, very hard game in-terms of forward play against Netherlands and slowed game against Colombia, but we have done our home work well and I hope when we get there we will cross the bridge in style,” the coach added.

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 12-11 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.

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