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WWRC15: USA stun Australia for spot in finals

Classic rivals the USA and Canada will battle for the gold medal. 16 Oct 2015
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Two wheelchair rugby players fighting for the ball

USA beating Australia at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

ⒸWWRC15
By Nathaniel Holland for the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation

The USA and Canada face off in the final at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge on Friday (16 October) in London, Great Britain. It will be a rematch of the gold-medal game in August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where Canada defeated the USA by three points.

 

World No. 1 Australia and Japan will battle for the bronze medal, a match that could preview the gold-medal game of the Asia-Oceania championships that begin on 26 October.

 

USA 57, Australia 54

 

The USA pulled the biggest upset of the week by knocking out world champions Australia in a contest that was tight until the final period on Thursday (15 October).

 

The USA maintained the lead throughout much of the first half, but Australia’s Ryley Batt and Chris Bond kept the USA on edge. What gave Team USA a big advantage however was Paralympic veteran Batt spending a lot of the first period in the penalty box. With that, the USA managed a two-point advantage into the first break and continued to pressure Australia in the second period, even with star player Chuck Aoki resting on the bench.

 

Eric Newby and Joe Delagrave were performing in Aoki’s absence to give the world No. 3 USA a halftime lead of 32-29.

 

Aoki returned in the second half, securing his 11th try and helping the USA manage the clock well. The USA found momentum and took a six-point lead that put pressure on Australia in the final moments.

 

Canada 60, Japan 50

 

Canada showed their class and why they are ranked No. 2 in the world after a comfortable win over Japan.

 

Japan were in high spirits after knocking European champions Great Britain out of the tournament just 24 hours previous, but they found themselves trailing by four into the break after superb play from Canada’s Zak Madell, who scored five tries in the first period.

 

Madell increased his try tally to 22 in the third quarter, and Japan knew that the odds were stacking against them when they were 11 points down with one quarter left.

 

Canada did enough to set up a rematch with USA, whom they narrowly beat by one point in the opening game of the BT WWRC on Monday (12 October).

 

 

Day three recap

Day two recap