Kenya qualified for the women's sevens event at Tokyo 2020 ©Rugby Africa

Kenya qualified for their second consecutive Olympic Games, despite being beaten in the final of the Rugby Africa Women's Sevens in Monastir today.

The Lionesses, who competed at Rio 2016, were beaten 15-14 by South Africa at the Mustapha Ben Jannet Stadium but it was a bittersweet victory for the Imbokodo.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee had ruled before the tournament that even if they won they would not be allowed to take up the automatic Tokyo 2020 place given to the winners.

That is because of a controversial rule preventing South African teams from qualifying from an African regional competition. 

Kenya had qualified for the final by beating hosts Tunisia 19-0 in the semi-final, while South Africa defeated Madagascar 29-0. 

Tunisia and Madagascar will get another opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at a repechage tournament in June.

Earlier, in the quarter-finals, South Africa had beaten Morocco 42-0 and Kenya defeated Zimbabwe 36-5.

It meant South Africa went into the final having scored 170 points without conceding.

This was the seventh time time in nine tournaments that South Africa won the trophy. 

The only times they not have lifted the trophy - in 2012 when Tunisia won and last year, when Kenya triumphed - was because they did not compete. 

Remarkably, this was the fifth time in six years that South Africa had beaten Kenya in the final, although this was the narrowest margin of victory.

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