International Rugby
USA crowned Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations champions
ESPN Staff
September 20, 2013
The United States' Derrick Helton takes a tumble during their clash with Australia © Getty Images

The USA claimed the 2013 Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations title with a 58-54 victory over Australia in the shadow of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Friday.

Chuck Aoki (26 goals) and Joe Delagrave (21 goals) led the way for the USA with Derrick Helton (five), Chuck Melton (three) and Josh Wheeler (three) also making strong contributions. Australian powerhouse Ryley Batt, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, crossed for 40 goals in the final while Chris Bond contributed Australia's other 14.

Following his side's victory, USA coach James Gumbert said: "We are very, very happy," Gumbert said. "Having lost to Australia in our last game, it forced us to look inside ourselves and dig deep. A bunch of young kids grew up tonight. I'm so proud of them.

"Earlier in the tournament, we tried a couple of things that we had never tried against the Aussies, and things didn't happen the way we wanted them to. But we went back, watched all the games again and worked out where we thought we were going wrong. We picked things apart and came back with a better plan. It was very satisfying."

The narrow defeat was hard to swallow for the Olympic champions and their coach Brad Dubberley. "The US deserved the win and it was our own unforced errors that cost us the game," Dubberley said. "Our starting line-up played the whole game but I don't think fatigue was a factor. We just had a few mishaps with our communication when we had the ball and that cost us.

"The US played a terrific tournament here. We weren't sure how they would handle playing here in a stadium like this, but they did their homework and played better when it mattered most."

Earlier in the day, Australia progressed to the gold medal match with a 62-45 victory over New Zealand.

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