England Rugby captain Robshaw watches battle back
about a year ago
England Rugby Union captain Chris Robshaw watched as Great Britain secured the chance to play for 5th place overall in the Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby tournament this evening (Saturday) with a 54-49 morning victory over Belgium.
GB, who were disappointed to be knocked out of medal contention by Japan on Friday, recovered from an early deficit in a match that started at 09:30, to assert their dominance in the third quarter.
They will take on either Sweden or France (who they have already beaten) at 21:15 tonight in the Basketball Arena in the 5th/6th play-off.
“It's brilliant to see. You don't realise how big the hits are on TV. When you're here you can feel the sound and it echoes around the arena,” said Robshaw, who came to the game with two teammates from Harlequins’ victory over London Welsh last night.
“We were saying it would be brilliant to have a go. I don't know how happy our coach would be if we did but it looks a great game and it's very exciting to watch.”
Aaron Phipps, a former wheelchair racer from Southampton, took to the court in the second quarter to turn the tide for the home side, scoring 28 goals and making seven steals.
He was pleased that Robshaw had joined a list of famous fans this week, including the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London.
“The support we've had this week has been absolutely outstanding. We had David Cameron the other night. I saw Boris Johnson – you can't miss him because of his hair – and now the England Rugby captain.
“It's out of this world. It's just a shame we can't put a medal on the table for them.”
Great Britain have finished fourth at the last two Paralympic Games but, with a young squad containing just three players who featured in Athens and Beijing, they currently rank fifth in the world.
David Anthony, the Welsh attacker with the distinctive blue mohawk haircut, opened the scoring for Great Britain and scored 12 goals in all, in the first and fourth quarters.
“As a Welshman, I wish the Welsh captain was here but all the support we get is great and I'm glad he's here supporting us,” said Anthony, who comes from Neath and plays for Cardiff Pirates.
“It's pretty normal to play two games in a day. We'll go back, get a rest and a shower, eat well and focus for tonight. It's the last game of the tournament so we've got to give everything we've got and not give up.”
Phipps, 29, put Great Britain ahead for the first time at 20-19 with a swerving dash down the length of the court in the second quarter.
“It was really difficult coming out today. After not making it out of the group yesterday we were very disappointed but we lifted our spirits,” he said.
“I came into this game feeling pretty pants but as soon as I saw the crowd – my family and everybody – I knew we had to do it.
“In the third quarter I thought I was going to throw up. I was sprinting full court at times. To come out this evening is going to be tough but we're one of the fittest teams here so I think we can do it.”