RECAP: Canada comeback falls short against France. Finish in 6th place overall
August 10, 2018A spirited comeback fell just short as Canada concluded their 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship campaign with a 51-52 loss to France on Friday morning at the Quaycenter in Sydney, Australia. The narrow loss means the Canadian finish the tournament in 6th Place overall (out of 12).
A spirited comeback fell just short as Canada concluded their 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship campaign with a 51-52 loss to France on Friday morning at the Quaycenter in Sydney, Australia. The narrow loss means the Canadian finish the tournament in 6th Place overall (out of 12).
Both teams came out of the gate firing offensively and sat tied at five apiece, following the first three minutes of play. It would be France, however, that would break the deadlock, forcing Canada’s offense into a trifecta of turnovers and ruthlessly scoring off of each.
These errors would prove costly for Canada, as they would allow France to take a commanding four-try lead.
Score: Canada 11 France 15
Head Coach Patrick Côté would shift to a more experienced line-up at the start of the second quarter, with Mike Whitehead (3.0), Cody Caldwell (2.0), Travis Murao (2.0), and Trevor Hirschfield (1.0) all on the court.
The change allowed Canada to up their defensive pressure and in the 3rd minute it would pay off, as Cody Caldwell would time his swipe to perfection and steal the ball, leading to a Canadian try. It would get even better for Canadian, as thirty seconds later, Mike Whitehead would cut the lead even further for Canada with another crucial steal.
It was clear that Canada had finally gotten over their early hiccups, and was playing the way they wanted to. Now all they needed to do was close the gap with France.
Score: Canada 27 France 30
France’s nerve would hold firm though, as nothing would separate the two teams for the first six minutes of the quarter.
The match, however, would turn a little chaotic in the 7th minute of play. In a period of 30 seconds, Canada would steal the ball, have a pass intercepted by France and recover a loose ball that had been fumbled by France. It was exhilarating string actions for the crowd in the stands and fans watching at home, and also allowed Canada to reduce Frances margin to only two tries.
Score: Canada 38 France 40
Canada, with momentum fully on their side now, would need to outscore France by two tries in the final quarter to tie up the match. With possession of the ball to start the quarter, Canada would score first putting them within one of their opponents.
Canada now needed to force France into a mistake. Whether it be an interception, a fumble, a penalty turnover, Canada needed something to happen in the remaining minutes.
Try as they might, though, the young Canadian side simply couldn’t get the better of France, who themselves managed to tighten up on defense and win by the slimmest of margins.
Score: Canada 51 France 52
The narrow defeat means Canada finish the 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in 6th Place overall. The team will now return to return home and shift their focus towards 2019’s Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Wheelchair Rugby Canada would like to congratulate Japan on defeating Australia 62-61 and winning the 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship.
Wheelchair Rugby Canada would also like to say thank you to the event organizers, the sponsors, the volunteers (especially Haydn and Lynne), the family and friends that traveled to Sydney to cheers on the team and the incredible staff at the Quest Hotel. Thank you for making our experience in Sydney one we will never forget.