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2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship preview part two

Australia celebrate winning the Gold Medal at the 2012 Paralympics
Australia celebrate winning the Gold Medal at the 2012 Paralympics
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The IWRF World Championship gets under way in Denmark on Monday and with that in mind the Wheelchair Rugby Examiner turns to a preview of the sides involved, continuing with the higher teams in Pool A.

Great Britain
World Ranking: 5th
Best World Ranking: 4th (June 2013: Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge)
Best finish: 4th (2006)
2010 finish: 6th
Another sport that benefited from London 2012 has been Wheelchair Rugby as the British side are starting to get back to the form and strength they had in the middle part of the last decade, with a fourth place finish in the Canada Cup, following a tight loss to Canada in the semi-final.

It's been an impressive improvement recently for Britain, who finished fifth in London before coming third in last year's European championships. Team GB will be hoping that they can continue their improvement, but find themselves in a difficult group.

Player to watch: Mike Kerr (1.5), the captain of a relatively inexperienced British side, but has quickly adapted to Wheelchair Rugby since his spinal injury in 2000.

World Ranking: 2nd
Best World Ranking: 1st (September 2012: Paralympic Games)
Best finish: 2nd (2010)
2010 finish: 2nd
Chasing their first ever championship, and fresh off winning two major titles in quick succession as Australia claimed their first Paralympic Gold in 2012 and reclaimed the Canada Cup earlier this year. Despite that Australia gave up the number one world ranking in June 2013 and they desperately want it back.

Player to watch: Ryley Batt (3.5), long the poster boy of wheelchair rugby (in a literal sense, Batt has been on posters for event since 2007) Batt has vast experience at international level and was the player of the tournament in London and in the 2014 Canada Cup and will be looking to win that title, along with Australia's first title.

World Ranking: 3rd
Best World Ranking: 2nd (June 2012: Canada Cup)
Best finish: Champions (2002)
2010 finish: 5th
Canada had a disappointing finish in the 2010 championship, sparking fears that the perennial contenders may be slipping away from the elite group of teams at the top of the wheelchair rugby world. But Canada fought back and two years later, stunned the dominant United States in London, beating them in the Semi-Finals.

That reworking has seen Canada come back up to third in the rankings, but they stand the most under threat against the rising European sides. For Canada the world championship presents a chance to stay on top, and prove 2010 was just a momentary lapse.

Player to watch: Trevor Hirschfield (1.0), in a side with strong low-point players Hirschfield has consistently starred, making the All-Star team in the 2010 tournament and this year's Canada Cup, where he was named the best 1.0. Hirschfield's experience and strong defensive play have earned him the honor of being named team captain for the 2014 campaign.

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