Lionesses bask in first win over a core side

Debutants Kenya Lionesses won their first ever HSBC Women’s World Series game against a core team when they sunk Japan 12-5 in the 11th place play-off as the 2015/16 season concluded in Clermont Ferrand, France over the weekend.

Head Coach Mike Shamiah termed his side’s performance as a learning curve as he prepares the side for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“We played against very worthy opponents; we played against top tier teams which we’ve never faced before. We picked up very good lessons in terms of how we defend and attack against very experienced teams and how to manage the game when we are winning and when we are down. We also picked valuable lessons in player management,” the tactician told Kenya Rugby.

“The tournament in France was massive for us in terms of our Olympics preparation because we don’t get many games against quality opposition in a calendar year,” he added.

Inspired by Janet Musindalo Okelo who scored 15 points, Lionesses scored only one try against Spain who demolished them 37 -5 in their opening group match before losing 31-0 and 22-0 against USA and England.

Finishing last in Pool A, they qualified to the bowl semi-finals playing against Russia. Okello got second try of the competition that left Kenya trailing 12-5 by halftime in a match bossed by Russia.

Celestine Masinde rose to the occasion to score a late try for lioness but Guzeva made sure of Russia’s spot in the Bowl Final with the 27-12 victory.

Two tries from Okello ensured Shamiah’s ladies got their first ever win over Japan who got their consolation five-pointer through Yamanaka.

“It feels good registering a win after a great two days of rugby. We took our chances and converted them into scoring opportunities. Our defence was brilliant and our running out wide was also very effective. Our half backs did the job well and we took the result,”

“We have a training game against Romania on Wednesday, and then back to camp in France from where we shall proceed to the Roma Sevens before heading back home. We will continue to test our players and give them the exposure to high intensity competition” the coach explained.