Rugby Rugby

Shujaa, Lionesses shift focus to Gold Coast

Fiji’s Amenoni Nasilasila breaks through the Kenya defense on day three of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong on 8th April, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC Fotos for World Rugby

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9- After their brilliant performances in Hong Kong, the national men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams will shift their attention to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia with rugby action kicking off on Friday.

Shujaa, ever present since the introduction of men’s rugby sevens at the 1998 games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will start their Pool C campaign with a match against Canada at 3.15am on Saturday 14 April before taking on New Zealand at 7.17am.

They will round up pool play with a match against fellow African side Zambia at 1.27pm the same day. The top ranked teams in each of the four pools will qualify for the semifinal, staying in contention for the medals on offer.

The Lionesses are part of the eight teams taking part in the inaugural women’s competition and are in Pool A with New Zealand, Canada and continental rivals South Africa.

They will kick off their campaign with a match against New Zealand at 9.53am on Friday before taking on Canada at 12.11pm the same day. They will complete their pool play against South Africa at 5.27am on Saturday.

HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2018
Papua New Guinea’s Fatima Rama fends off the Kenya defense on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong on 5th April, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

A top two finish will earn them a semi-final qualification in the quest to keep their medal hopes alive.

Head coach Kevin Wambua hopes their performance from Hong Kong last week where they reached the semi-final will spur them to do better despite the fact they will miss dependable player Janet Awino who fractured her ankle.

“Overall, the performance by the team was superb, though we didn’t win it, we went a step further from last year and picked plenty of positives and experience which will be vital for us as we head into the Commonwealth Games next week,” Wambua said.

Shujaa Commonwealth Games Fixtures

Saturday 14 April

3.15am v Canada

7.17am v New Zealand

1.27pm v Zambia

Lionesses Commonwealth Games Fixtures

Friday 13 April

9.53am v New Zealand

12.11pm v Canada

Saturday 14 April

5.27am v South Africa

-Additional reporting by KRU