Brave Kenya Lionesses fall to Japan in Challenger Series

Janet Okello

Kenya's Janet Okello scores a try during the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series at the Estadio Santa Laura in Santiago, Chile on August 13, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Kenya will now face China in the bronze medal match later on Sunday. Earlier, Keny had beaten Argentina 24-7 in the quarter-final.
  • Kenya drowned Argentina with tries from Christabel Lindo (two), Japan-based Janet Okello and captain Judith Auma as Grace Okulu added two conversions.

Kenya will have to wait longer to gain core status in World Rugby Women's Sevens Series after falling to Japan in the semi-final stage at the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series – the qualifying event - in Santiago, Chile on Sunday.

Coach Dennis Mwanja’s side trailed 17-5 at the break as they lost 22-15 against former core team Japan at Estadio Santa Laura.

Wakaba Hara scored two tries in the first half, while M. Suda contributed one as speedster Janet Okello netted a brilliant try in the first half.

A sin-bin for Japan-based Okello did not stop Kenya from reducing the gap through Laurine Otieno for 17-10.

Okello would return to the field and scorched the Japanese with her speed from her own half to bring her side to within two points reach at 17-15.

However, Kenya's comeback was thwarted with less than 15 seconds left to play when Hara grounded her third try of the match to bundle out the East Africans.

The Lionesses needed to win the Challenger Series in order to clinch the only ticket on offer for the 2022–2023 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series slated for December 2, 2022 to May 14, 2023.

Kenya will now face China in the bronze medal match later on Sunday. Earlier, Keny had beaten Argentina 24-7 in the quarter-final.

Kenya drowned Argentina with tries from Christabel Lindo (two), Japan-based Janet Okello and captain Judith Auma as Grace Okulu added two conversions.

Lindo gave Kenya the lead on four minutes with an unconverted try before Okulu converted Auma’s try for a 12-0 half-time lead. Okulu converted Lindo’s second try and Okello’s for 24-0 before Argentina grabbed their consolation try late in the game through Marta Reding converted by Sofia Gonzalez.

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