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Big guns destroy smaller teams in day three of World Championships

Ryley Batt makes a hit on his opponent
Ryley Batt makes a hit on his opponent
courtesy 2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship Committee

With action heating up in the 2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship the major powers started to really flex their muscles in Odense on Wednesday in day three of competition.

Great Britain, who suffered a hard loss to Australia, looked to show that they belong in that elite top five, starting with an early turn over before quickly tearing France apart in the opening game, going 14-8 up at the end of the first quarter.

That only continued as the domination from GB just kept on going, 30-16 up at half-time before cruising to one of the biggest victories of the tournament winning by 24, 55-31.

The second match saw another miss-match as Australia took on Belgium, and quickly shot out to an 18-13 lead, allowing the Steelers to rotate their players getting their lead out to 17 with one quarter of rugby to play. That final quarter saw Australia simply tear Belgium apart winning 72-46.

After two blow-outs a third loomed as another European team was thrown to the lions, with USA shooting out to a 17-8 lead against Sweden but Sweden fought back in the second quarter cutting the gap marginally to seven points.

Given the score lines that had preceded the USA v Sweden match the Swedes won’t have been to upset with a final of 65-48. USA did eventually win convincingly, but they were pushed and they were unable to play their squad players as much as they would have liked.

After such a start to day three the fourth match loomed as a big highlight with Japan taking on New Zealand in a battle of the Asia-Oceania teams that has been entertaining over the recent cycles of international play.

Japan started the match well, forcing turnovers as they attempted to back up the evidence that the tide in the Asia-Oceania region had certainly changed, forcing out to a 20-15 lead in the middle of the second quarter.

With a decent lead, five goals up, Japan were able to control the match, playing with their long ball style, catching New Zealand out and getting their lead out to 38-32 with one quarter to play before pushing out in the fourth to a 54-45 win.

An all European affair continued play as Germany took on France in a tight game that saw the sides struggle to get clear from each other, with Germany leading 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, only for that to be reversed at the half with France up 24-23.

The second half was much the same, both sides fighting for possession, matching turnovers, but Germany started to gain the ascendancy and held a 33-31 lead heading in to the final quarter. France fought back and drew level with three minutes to play, before a turnover with 1:40 remaining gave France a 44-43 lead.

Those final 100 seconds were just as tense as the whole game as Germany tried to force overtime but could only manage one more goal, with France winning 46-44.

Australia’s second game of the day saw them remain just as dominant as they had in their first, pushing the lead out easily to 18-10 at the end of the first quarter against Denmark.

That gap did close slightly through the second quarter, but not by much, as Australia still lead by six, 28-22, at the half, rotating their side well and forcing Denmark to use all their timeouts with still over seven minutes remaining in the third.

With such domination, Australia rotated their squad and kept that comfortable lead, 42-35 at the end of the third quarter, Australia were not troubled about running up the goal difference and cruised their way to a 56-50 win against the hosts.

After watching all the matches before Canada came out to round out the day against Finland, and much like their other elite teams, cruised out, opening a seven goal lead in the first quarter, 17-10, continuing the trend of the big sides defeating their smaller, European, opponents.

The second quarter saw Canada carry that on, building the lead out to nine, taking a 32-23 lead in to the half, allowing them to rotate their players ahead of their double-duty on Thursday, as the Canadians cruised to a 67-40 win.