China Beat Physical Kenya to Win World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Challenger Final in Dubai

China got off to the perfect start with victory as the dominant force in World Rugby's HSBC Sevens Challenger to secure gold with a 19-5 win over Kenya in the final in Dubai on Saturday. Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby

China got off to the perfect start with victory as the dominant force in World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Challenger in Dubai to secure gold with a 19-5 win over Kenya in the final, gaining revenge for their 17-12 loss to the same opposition in Friday’s pool match.

China has earlier cruised into the final thanks to a 45-5 thrashing of Uganda in the semi-final, while Kenya saw off Argentina by 17-0 in the second semi-final. Argentina were impressive throughout the weekend and claimed the bronze thanks to a 36-10 win over Uganda.

China’s Chen Keyi said: “We are happy and so proud of our girls and the way we played to our standards. Kenya is a very physical team, so I’m proud of our tackling and how hard we worked for each other. We hope we can keep learning, keep playing to our way and keep winning in the next tournaments.”

Amid ecstatic celebrations in front of the large contingent of supporters, Kenya co-captain Tony Omondi said: “We are super happy. We knew this Challenger event in Dubai was very crucial for us to start on a high, and now we must carry on with the momentum until the last tournament.”

“It was a tough final today. Chile was a tough, physical opponent so we had to match them in all aspects and it came out good for us. We must also congratulate our ladies team as well, every game they played before us gave us the inspiration, so we had to deliver and thanks to them we are going back home with two medals.”

There is more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger with the competition expanded to three rounds and the top four placed women’s teams qualifying for the new promotion and relegation play-off competition at the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final, in Madrid.

The Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby sevens for the short format of the game, which has experienced huge growth over the past two decades since the introduction of the global sevens series, and becoming an Olympic sport at the Rio 2016 Games.

The bigger and better than ever 2024 edition of the Challenger consists of three rounds. Following the opener in Dubai the women’s teams now move on to Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March, before standalone events at Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland, and Dantestadion in Munich, Germany, respectively on 18-19 May.

China Squad for the World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Challenger in Dubai

2 Yan Meiling 
5 Gu Yaoyao 
7 Chen Keyi
11 Liu Xiaoqian
12 YuHu
15 Dou Xinrong
16 Sun Yue
17 Gao Yueying
18 Su Qi
23 Kang Chengtian 
28 Ma Xiaodan
30 Wang Zhaojing

Manager: Xizi Wang
Head Coach: Lu Zhuan

Kenya Squad

1 Naomi Amuguni
2 Christabel Lindo
3 Sheilla Chajira
4 Stella Wafula
5 Phoebe Otieno
6 Moreen Muritu
7 Sinaida Nyachio
8 Diana Nyairo
9 Judith Okumu
10 Grace Okulu
11 Sharon Auma
12 Diana Ochieng

Manager: Camilyne Oyuayo
Head Coach: Dennis Mwanja
Physio: Levyce Wemela
Coach: Thomas Odundo


Main Photo Caption: China got off to the perfect start with victory as the dominant force in World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Challenger to secure gold with a 19-5 win over Kenya in the final in Dubai on Saturday. Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby 

Photo 2 Caption: China’s YuHu cut through the Poland defence on day 2 of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024, at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, 13 January, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 3 Caption: Kenya’s Naomi Amuguni races away fron the Czechia defence on day 2 of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024, at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, 13 January, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 4 Caption: Uganda’s Yvonne Najjuma and Mary Ayot celebrate a win against Belgium on day 2 of the  World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024, at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, 13 January, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby

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