There is one change to the Lionesses starting lineup as they take on South Africa in the top of the table clash on match day two at the ongoing Rugby Africa Women’s Cup first division tournament at the Stade Makis in Antananarivo, Madagascar on Wednesday 24 May 2023.
Enid Ouma replaces Phoebe Akinyi in the backrow as Head Coach Dennis Mwanja named a largely unchanged side for Wednesday’s clash.
Akinyi was injured in the dying moments of Saturday’s 29-20 opening victory over hosts Madagascar at the same venue and will not be fit in time for this encounter.
Hellen Anyango takes up Ouma’s slot on the bench.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match, Mwanja said, “the South Africa game will be more physical, more tactical. I’ve watched them play…they are very good in spreading the ball wide and also very good in defending. Denying them possession and contesting everything they put will give us an edge.”
Wednesday’s clash will be the first between the two sides since August 2021 when the South Africans won a two match test series in Stellenbosch, winning the opening fixture 66-0 before scoring a last gasp try to claim the second fixture 29-22.
They come into Wednesday’s clash off an 87- 0 win over Cameroon that took them to the top of the table.
The winner of this tournament will qualify for the second tier of the newly launched World Rugby WXV with the runner up qualifying for the third tier of the same competition which is intended to revolutionize the women’s international rugby landscape, providing for the first time a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025.
Lionesses match day squad
15.Ann Goretti, 14. Jean Bisela, 13. Moreen Njoki, 12. Grace Okulu, 11. Stellah Wafula, 10. Sinaida Mokaya, 9. Judith Auma, 1. Natasha Emali, 2. Knight Otwoma, 3. Evelyne Kalemera, 4. Naomi Jelagat, 5. Bernadette Olesia, 6. Diana Kemunto, 7. Enid Ouma, 8. Sheila Chajira (Captain) REPLACEMENTS 16. Michelle Akinyi, 17. Valentine Otieno, 18. Rose Otieno, 19. Nelly Chikombe, 20. Hellen Anyango, 21. Winnie Owino, 22. Terry Ayesa, 23. Diana Awino