Lionesses coach highlights what they need to do to succeed at inaugural World Rugby WXV-3

©KRU Media Twitter.

RUGBY Lionesses coach highlights what they need to do to succeed at inaugural World Rugby WXV-3

Joel Omotto 16:29 - 29.05.2023

Dennis Mwanja was delighted by his side’s resilience during the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup but feels they need to raise the levels for the global event

Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja has highlighted the team’s ball handling under pressure and sticking to defensive systems as areas they need to work on ahead of the inaugural World Rugby WXV-3 competition in October.

Mwanja hailed his charges after securing qualification to the competition following a second-place finish in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup First Division competition in Antananarivo, Madagascar courtesy of two wins and a loss.

Lionesses defeated Cameroon 52-3 in their third game, having opened their campaign with a 29-20 victory over Madagascar, before South Africa put them to the sword, thrashing them 48-0 in the second encounter.

Speaking after the match, Mwanja said the team displayed great mental resilience and stuck to its structure and game plan throughout the weeklong tournament.

Kenya went into their final game against Cameroon knowing a bonus-point win would likely be enough to book their place in WXV 3, regardless of whatever happened in Sunday’s second match between tournament winners South Africa and Madagascar.

They started quickly with Nelly Chikombe touching down after three minutes with Grace Okulu adding the extras before converting her own score two minutes later to help Kenya build a 14-0 lead.

The Lionesses found it more difficult to break down the Cameroon defence as the half wore on but with Gladys Magala in the sin bin, Judith Okumu supplied their third try for a 19-0 half-time lead.

Cameroon’s task was made infinitely harder in the 47th minute as Danielle Moudangwedi was shown a red card, but it was the West Africans who struck next as Assouga Rosine Ntsa landed a penalty.

Any hopes of an unlikely comeback were quashed soon afterwards, though, as Phoebe Otieno notched the try that confirmed a bonus point for Kenya.

Stella Wafula and Okulu breached the Cameroon try-line twice more in the next 10 minutes, and the Lionesses would run in another two tries in the final quarter to make the score 52-3 at full-time.

Kenya join Ireland and Kazakhstan in confirming their place in WXV 3 and will be joined by either Italy or Spain and one each from Oceania and South America.

Additional information from KRU Media.