There are seven changes to the Lionesses ahead of their crunch WXV3 clash against Colombia in Dubai on Friday evening.
The team finishing bottom of WXV 3 will play-off against the next-best ranked side, according to the World Rugby Women’s Rankings as they stand following the final match of WXV that year.
The Lionesses are currently fifth with one point from two matches while Colombia occupy the sixth and bottom slot, pointless after two outings. Three of the Lionesses changes are in the starting fifteen with the other four on the bench.
Paul Murunga has handed Naomi Muhanji a first start of the campaign after two appearances from the bench while Judith Okumu slots in at scrumhalf. Sharon Auma makes her first WXV3 appearance, starting on the wing.
Knight Otwoma, Valentine Otieno and Edith Nariaka return to the match day squad after missing out last Friday’s narrow defeat to Kazakhstan.
Faith Livoi starts from the bench after two starts in the second row.
Grace Okulu is out of the match day squad, serving a two match suspension carried forward from the Rugby Africa Women’s 7s final against South Africa in Tunisia on October 15.
Commenting on the upcoming fixture, Murunga said, “It has been a good week in terms of training. We identified several areas we needed to fix after the Kazakhstan game.We’ve polished our plays, especially on attack. The girls must also be more confident when playing.”
“This will be our second meeting with Colombia, we last played them in Nairobi in August 2021, they won 16-15. We are expecting an equally tough game against them, and we will try and play an expansive game. We have pleased that our sevens players have gelled with the rest of the squad after their arrival from Tunisia and their input will be key to our game plan, “ added Murunga.
Murunga also called for more exposure for the Lionesses, saying, “we need to have more engagements similar to WXV3 in order to get the team used to playing at this level. It is very good exposure.”
Team captain Enid Ouma rallied her troops, saying, “We remain positive and confident. We may have lost the opening two matches but that does not stop us from showing who we are. “Lionesses v Colombia
- Diana Omosso, 14. Sharon Auma, 13. Prisca Nyerere, 12. Stella Wafula, 11. Terry Ayesa, 10. Anne Goretti, 9. Judith Okumu, 1. Rose Otieno, 2. Naomi Muhanji, 3. Natasha Emali (VC), 4. Maureen Chebet, 5. Naomi Jelagat, 6. Enid Ouma ( C), 7. Diana Kemunto, 8. Phoebe Akinyi REPLACEMENTS 16. Knight Otwoma, 17. Valentine Otieno, 18. Evelyn Kalemera, 19. Faith Livoi, 20 Hesla Khisa, 21. Edith Nariaka, 22. Esther Juma, 23. Michelle Akinyi