12 March 2018

Britain put in positive performances at inaugural wheelchair rugby Quad Nations Tournament

Great Britain delivered a boost to their wheelchair rugby World Championship preparation with a strong showing at the inaugural Quad Nations tournament.

The British team pitted their wits against the world’s best teams, including the current Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medallists, at their home Leicester Arena – with plenty of signs to suggest the next few months are going to be exciting.

That will come to a head at the World Championships in Sydney, in August, proving already that they can put in good and consistent performances against the big teams.

But defeat in the third-place play-off ensured the displays were not reflected in the result, with United States taking home gold ahead of Australia and Japan.

It was against the United States where Britain began at the Leicester Arena, upsetting the Paralympic silver medallists from Rio 2016 – their only defeat of the competition.

A 50-47 scoreline was enough for the European champions to get on the board, while Australia beat Japan by just one point in the opening day’s other match.

Head coach Paul Shaw had labelled this as the toughest selection process he had faced in five years, with seven of the 12-man squad representing ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016 - Jonathan Coggan, Ayaz Bhuta, Ryan Cowling, James Roberts, Jamie Stead, Gavin Walker and captain Chris Ryan.

Meanwhile London 2012 Paralympian Aaron Phipps – the first disabled person to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro without assistance, two years ago – was making his first appearance since those Games, though he and the team couldn’t prevent a first defeat of the Quad Nations at the hands of Japan.

Coincidentally the 50-47 scoreline replicated the margin by which they’d lost the day’s opening game, to leave them with a 1-1 record with one game to play.

And Paralympic and world champions Australia proved just a step too far for the British squad, losing 55-51 to set up a rematch with Japan for the bronze medal.

Once again the rub of the green wasn’t to go the way of Shaw’s charges, missing out 44-41, as the United States became maiden Quad Nations champions with a tight victory over Australia.

Great Britain squad: Chris Ryan (captain), Jonathan Coggan, Muhammad Islam, Ryan Cowling, Myles Pearson, Nicholas Cummins, Gavin Walker, Ayaz Bhuta, Jamie Stead, James Roberts, Aaron Phipps, Stuart Robinson

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