Kenya and Uganda Both Secure World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger Quarter-Finals Berths in Krakow

China celebrating after match at Day 1 at World Rugby HSBC Challenger Series women's event in Krakow, Poland on 18 May, 2024. Photo: Martin Seras Lima for World Rugby

A thrilling first day of international rugby sevens action in the third and final round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 saw the quarter-final line-ups confirmed following pool play in the women’s competition at Henryk Rayman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland, on Saturday 18 May, 2024.

The top four placed women’s teams qualify for the new HSBC SVNS promotion and relegation play-off competition in Madrid, and with China having already achieved their qualification, three more spots remain for the taking in Sunday’s action.

China’s women came into the tournament leading the standings after winning the first rounds in Dubai and Montevideo and were on top form once more with three wins from three ensuring they topped pool A and secured their place in the promotion and relegation play-off competition in Madrid on 31 May to 2 June, 2024.

Argentina will play Kenya, the best-placed of Africa’s two contending nations, hosts Poland will face Czechia, tournament leaders China are up against Uganda, and Paraguay take on Belgium in Sunday’s action.

Czechia had a slow start with a 24-12 loss against China, however, they went on to have one of the biggest ranking jumps today, with convincing victories against Hong Kong China and Thailand taking them to second place in Pool A.

In pool B, Argentina cruised to the top of the board, convincingly winning all three of their matches against Paraguay, Papua New Gunia and Uganda and will face Kenya tomorrow who placed third today.

In pool C, hosts Poland started the day with a tough encounter with a physical Kenya and very nearly took the victory but a missed conversion in the dying seconds saw them the African visitors take the crucial win. 

But Poland bounced back quickly with an impressive 55-0 win against Mexico and wrapped up the day’s proceedings with an exciting showdown that went into extra time, culminating with a 24-19 victory over Belgium in front of a jubilant home crowd in Krakow.

After qualifying for Madrid, China’s Head Coach Lu Zhuan commented: “We joined the circuit in 2018 and it was a pity that we didn’t make it the last time, but we’re really looking forward to the opportunity to try to join the world circuit this time round.

“We’ve always worked hard throughout the season and we always bring joy into our training but at the same time we work super hard and we hope we bring that to the game.

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 Sevens Challenger kicked off at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January, which was won by China women. The combined second round took place in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March where China claimed the women’s title to enhance their expectations. 

The third and final round sees standalone women’s at Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland, on 18-19 May.


Original Copy: World Rugby, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: China celebrating after match at Day 1 at World Rugby HSBC Challenger Series women’s event in Krakow, Poland on 18 May, 2024. Photo: Martin Seras Lima for World Rugby 

Photo 2 Caption: Lydia Namabiro from Uganda Day 1 at World Rugby HSBC Challenger Series women’s event in Krakow. Photo: Martin Seras Lima for World Rugby 

Photo 3 Caption: Tournament hosts did their best, but were not good enough to sink Kenya in Day 1 action on Saturday. Photo: Martin Seras Lima for World Rugby

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