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Lionesses in final repchage hopes for Rio

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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, September 28 – After missing out on automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics Women’s Sevens at the continental qualifiers, Kenya will try their luck at the world repchage in June next year at a venue yet to be confirmed.

The Lioness lost 31-5 to hosts South Africa in the Main Cup finals of the African qualifiers on Sunday and will battle it out with Argentina, Russia, Ireland, Spain, Venezuela and Oceania for the remaining slot to join the Olympics party where the sport is making a debut.

Kenya reached the final after mauling Zimbabwe 39-0 in the semis having dispatched Madagascar 33-0 to top their pool with a 100 percent record.

The Lionesses will represent the continent alongside third finishers Tunisia and Zimbabwe to determine the 12th and final team to complete the list for the Rio-De Janeiro showpiece.

South Africa joined New Zealand, Canada, Australia and England (Team GB), who booked their place by finishing as the top four teams in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series last season as well as Brazil who qualified by virtue of being hosts.

Colombia, USA and France made it through from their respective regional qualifiers with Oceania and Asia set to host theirs in November.

The Lioness are expected in the country on Tuesday to start preparations as they hope to strengthen from the two-day tournament which they entered after lifting the Bowl in the Rugby Women Sevens Series qualifies .

A women’s tournament at this weekend’s Safari Sevens could have helped the team keep playing momentum, but competition director, Godwin Karuga, said they were unable to host one as is tradition due to congestion of fixtures in the women’s Olympics qualifies.

“It was our desire to have the women’s tournament but because our team and the nations we could invite are busy seeking qualification for next year’s Olympics, we cannot reach at a number of teams required,” Karuga declared.

Kenya’s biggest threat in the repchage qualifiers are Argentina and Ireland who have structures for the women sevens game that is gaining popularity.

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