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Denmark and New Zealand open World Championships with a win

Thor Johansson on the ball for Denmark
Thor Johansson on the ball for Denmark
courtesy 2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship Committee

The Wheelchair Rugby World Championship got underway on Monday with two games, as the hosts, Denmark, opened the tournament against Belgium and New Zealand took on France in Odense.

Denmark started the tournament well, catching an early turnover to take an early 4-2 lead before Leon Jorgensen pushed the Danes out to a 9-6 lead midway through the first quarter.

That lead pushed out to four goals at the end of the quarter with a 14-10 lead for Denmark only for Belgium to respond perfectly with a turnover to start the second quarter.

Belgium pushed hard on Denmark in the second quarter and did close that gap to just 25-22, keeping Denmark under control, looking to push for the advantage in the second half.

Half-time seemed to break up Denmark who quickly restored their four goal lead in the third quarter, spurred on by an impressive home crowd, who encouraged the side to keep that decently sized lead intact.

Pushing the lead out to four, Denmark managed a late turn-over in the third quarter to push it out to a six goal lead at the end of the fourth-quarter, making it seemingly insurmountable as the teams headed in to the final quarter with Denmark 37-31 up.

That didn’t seem to stop Denmark as they kept on attacking the struggling Belgians as they pushed the lead out to eight at 40-32 before pushing out to a final of 52-43 after a dominant final quarter.

New Zealand were fired up for their game against France, the side that prevented them going to London two years ago, and an early turnover gave the Wheelblacks the early lead.

The Wheelblacks continued to press the French side and as the half continued forced another turnover to start to get comfortable with a 10-7 lead. With New Zealand in control, France managed to fight back and close the gap to just 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.

New Zealand shot the lead out to four points in the early stages of the second quarter but France fought hard in the quarter to make it 24-23, just one point back on New Zealand.

But as half-time approached the Wheelblacks responded, getting three quick goals to push out to a 29-26 lead at half-time as they pushed their lead back out.

The trend continued in the third as New Zealand quickly secured a turnover to get the lead back out to four, only for France to secure a turnover of their own keeping it 41-38 at the end of the third quarter.

The final quarter saw New Zealand explode, with three minutes to play they pushed out to a 51-45 lead, effectively wrapping up the win which they did 55-47.