Rugby Rugby

Lionesses to make World Series debut in France

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Kenya Lionesses pose for a group photo after the travelling squad for Rio 2016 qualifiers was unveiled on September 23, 2015 in Nairobi. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Kenya Lionesses pose for a group photo after the travelling squad for Rio 2016 qualifiers was unveiled on September 23, 2015 in Nairobi. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – The Kenya women’s rugby sevens team will make its first ever appearance in the Women’s HSBC Sevens World Series after being invited to take part in the final round of the 2015/16 season slated for France on the weekend of May 28 and 29.

The Kenya Lionesses, who are drawn in Pool A against England, Spain and USA, will use the tournament as part of their preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games that get underway in August.

Head coach Mike Shamiah was delighted with the opportunity, saying it will be a perfect platform to gauge their fitness against the world’s best teams.

“It is definitely great exposure for the team. I am confident we will be able to get a taste of what the competition will be like at the Olympics,” Shamiah said.

Having already taken part in two invitational tournaments in Dubai and Hong Kong, Shamiah is anticipating a tough outing but was positive his girls are equal to the task.

“We go to France looking to gauge ourselves and against the best teams in the world. We are grateful for the opportunity and will look to put our best foot forward and also take the many lessons that are there to be learnt.”

The Lionesses, who are the non-core team in the tournament, have been in training in Nairobi for the event with Shamiah expected to name his squad next week.

The format and qualification process for the 2016/17 Women’s Sevens Series has been confirmed.

The top nine teams at the end of the 2015/16 series will automatically qualify for the following season as core teams while the remaining two places will be taken using the rankings from the Women’s Global Repechage tournament to qualify one team and the rankings from the Olympic Games to qualify another team.

-Kenya 7s depart for France-

Meanwhile, the Kenya Sevens team departed for France Sunday evening to compete in the penultimate round of the HSBC Sevens World Series that takes place in Paris this weekend.

The Singapore 7s champions headline a fair Pool A where they will lock horns with heavy weights New Zealand, Portugal and Russia.

Kenya will open its campaign against Portugal on Friday at 8pm local time (GMT+3), then face Russia on Saturday at 11:30am before wrapping up their preliminary round fixture with New Zealand at 3:03pm.

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