The BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge pits the top teams from around the world against each other in London, Great Britain. Day two wrapped up on Tuesday (13 October), with Australia and the USA making statements.
Australia 57, Great Britain 55
Reigning world champions Australia managed to win their second game of the day whilst handing European champions Great Britain their first loss of the tournament.
In a game that has been dubbed ‘The Smashes’ (taken from the England-Australia cricket series ‘ The Ashes’), Tuesday’s matchup was a feisty affair, especially between Great Britain’s Ayaz Bhuta and Australia’s Ryley Batt.
Australia grabbed the early lead in the first quarter and held on for the duration of the game.
Defensive player Jonny Coggan was superb in blocking the right players at the right time to allow Bhuta to score on a few occasions in the first period for Great Britain.
Australia took a 3-point lead into the second quarter, and Bhuta let all of his frustrations out on an onrushing Batt who went tumbling to the ground.
Great Britain’s Jim Roberts managed 12 tries as the second quarter came to a close to follow up his performance from Monday’s win over France.
But Australia took a 3-point advantage into the interval, thanks to a last second try right on the buzzer to make the score 26-23.
Great Britain had to be on top defensively, and Bulbul Hussain did his best to keep tabs on Batt when the 43-year-old was called upon to put in some court time.
Four points separated the two teams going into the final quarter, and Australia held on as the clock wound down to win the game.
USA 62-23 South Africa
USA cruised through their third game in two days with an emphatic win against South Africa, who are making their debut outside the Asia-Oceania zone.
The USA’s Chuck Aoki scored the first four unanswered tries of the game to give his country a great platform. Josh Wheeler added two to make it 6-0 before South Africa had even settled into the match. The first period ended 21-5.
In the second quarter, Musa Simelane pulled one back for South Africa, but the USA were rampant and continued to score tries and boasted eight different try scorers as they went into halftime with a 35-12 lead.
The final quarter saw South African player Koos Jacobs score two quick tries, but it was too late as the USA cruised in for the 62-23 victory. The win followed-up from their 54-45 victory over New Zealand earlier in the day, a much-needed refresher from their 58-57 loss to Canada on day one.
The competition will conclude on Friday (16 October).