Kenya Lionesses’ chances of qualifying for the 2023 World 7s Series were dashed on Sunday as they were defeated 22-15 by Japan in the Challenger Series semi-final in Chile.
Lionesses headed to this match following an impressive run that had seen them win four matches in a row. The lionesses had eliminated Argentina in the Quarters thanks to a brace from Christabel Lindo that saw the side pick a 24-5 win.
Japan had also impressed in their matches and they crossed the whitewash five times during their 31-0 win against Belgium in the quarters to get to this stage.
Japan started off strongly and after moments of knocking at Kenya’s door, Michiyo Suda crossed over and converted her try for a 7-5 lead.
Dennis Mwanja’s charges responded from the restart with the ball being quickly shifted to find Janet Okello who sprinted past the Japanese defence for a try that went unconverted.
Japan reclaimed the lead when Wakaba Hara utilized space on the left wing to score the second try for a 12-5 lead. The Japanese headed to the break with a 12-point advantage after Hara rounded Naomi Amuguni on the right wing for her second try.
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The lionesses pulled back three minutes into the second half with Laurine Otieno intercepting to score a try that trimmed the gap to seven points and put the Lionesses back in the game.
Lionesses closed in when Okello raced on for the second try with a minute to play. A missed conversion however gave Japan a lifeline before they put up a strong fight to score through Hara’s third try.
Kenya Lionesses will play the bronze match against China on Monday at 00:44 hours EAT.
About Challenger Series
Launched in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe, the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series acts as a promotion pathway for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
This year’s Challenger Series is being held as a one-off combined event that will feature 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams representing each of the six World Rugby regions. Those teams qualified for August’s tournament via regional competitions.
The tournament replicates the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools. The top two from each as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages.
The winners of the women’s and men’s 2022 Challenger Series will take their place among the core teams in the 2023 Series.
World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2022
South Africa 29-10 Papua New Guinea
Chile 12-5 Mexico
Papua New Guinea 14-15 Jamaica
Lithuania 19-10 Korea- 23:30
Sunday 14 August
China 21-7 Kazakhstan
Kenya Lionesses 24-5 Argentina
Hong Kong 14-19 Georgia
Germany 17-14 Uganda
Japan 31-0 Belgium
Poland 36-0 Colombia
Tonga 12-17 Uruguay
Chile 24-0 Zimbabwe