Kenya Shujaa out to avenge Rio – Lionesses face tough test

Kenya became the 10th team to qualify for Tokyo after winning their first Rugby Africa Sevens title since 2015, defeating Uganda 29-0 in the final in November 2019.

The Shujaa are one of the core teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series. Their best-ever series campaign was in 2012-13, when they finished fifth.

Shujaa is an Arabic word that means courageous or brave.

Seeking Rio revenge

Kenya’s men failed to reach their usual standards at Rio 2016, losing every game until a 24-0 win over hosts Brazil prevented them from finishing in 12th and last place.

It was a disappointing campaign as they had gone to Brazil touted as one of the tournament’s dark horses following their first-ever World Series Cup title in Singapore earlier in the year.

At Rugby World Cup Sevens, they have fared much better, reaching the semi-finals in 2009 and 2013.

Sevens royalty

In Collins Injera, Kenya once boasted the record all-time try-scorer on the World Rugby Sevens Series. His tally of 279 tries is only bettered by Team GB’s Dan Norton.

Injera’s brother, Humphrey Kayange, also played in Rio and was part of the World Rugby delegation that campaigned for rugby sevens’ Olympic inclusion in 2009.

World Series stalwarts like Willy Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo and Andrew Amonde also look set to feature in Tokyo.

Kenya women Lionesses ready to roar

Kenya’s Lionesses became the eighth team to book their ticket to Tokyo after finishing runners-up to South Africa in the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens.

The Lionesses are in the Tokyo line-up because the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee declined the opportunity to compete.

Grace Adhiambo played a crucial role in helping the Lionesses secure qualification and is one to watch in Tokyo.

Rio rewind

Kenya made their debut on the World Rugby Sevens Series in France a couple of months before the Olympics began.

New Zealand, France, Spain and Japan proved formidable opponents in Rio but they were kept off the bottom of the standings thanks to a 22-10 victory against Colombia.

Glittering on the Gold Coast

The Lionesses achieved sixth place in the inaugural women’s Commonwealth Games rugby sevens tournament on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2018.

South Africa were defeated 19-10, arguably the team’s best-ever result. Wales were also beaten and Canada were ran close. Can they make even more of an impact in Tokyo?