Australia crowned wheelchair rugby champs
August 11, 2014
Australia celebrates winning the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships © Brian Mouridsen
Australia are the new wheelchair rugby world champions following a physical 67-56 defeat of Canada in Odense, Denmark. Veteran Ryley Batt was unstoppable, scoring 45 goals in the final of the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships as the Steelers earned their maiden world championship crown - breaking up the north American dominance of the tournament in the process.
The United States have won four times, while Canada triumphed in the other two years - but that counted for little on Sunday as Australia overcame a physical opening to pull away late in the third quarter.
Australia's captain Ryley Batt collides with Canada's defence © Brian Mouridsen
Australia also becomes only the second nation in history to hold both the Paralympic and world championship titles concurrently.
"World champions, Paralympic champions, this team just keeps getting better," coach Brad Dubberley said. "It's a huge accomplishment."
Scores were locked at 15-all at quarter-time, and it wasn't until a surge of goals sparked by Batt and Chris Bond late in the third opened up a gap that allowed Australia to take a 48-40 lead into the final break - and ultimately allowed them to close out the win.
"It feels amazing. This is everything that we wanted. I'm finding hard to put it into words," said Australian captain Ryan Scott, who was playing in his fourth world championships. "I'm lucky because I have such a great team to work with. To be honest, it is an easy job to captain this team."
Scott said it was extra sweet in 2014, after the Australians were thrashed by the United States in the gold medal match of the 2010 world championships. In addition to Batt's stunning haul, Bond (19 goals) and Jayden Warn (3 goals) also got on the scoresheet for Australia.