Aussies suffer shock Paralympic rugby loss

Wed, 25/08/2021, 10:38 pm
Justin Chadwick - AAP
by Justin Chadwick - AAP
Batt speaks after Australia's narrow one-point loss to Japan in the 2018 World Championships

The Australian Steelers' bid to win a record third straight Paralympic gold medal has hit an early snag after they suffered a shock 54-53 loss to Denmark in wheelchair rugby.

The Steelers started as hot favourites in Wednesday's match in Tokyo against a Denmark outfit making their Paralympic debut.

Click here to be the first to access tickets when on sale for the eToro Rugby Championship at 3pm AEST Wednesday 1 September

But Denmark took it up to the Steelers from the outset, with Sebastian Frederiksen finishing with 29 tries in a match-winning display.

Australia were on course for victory after edging out to a three-point lead early in the second half, but Denmark pulled off a series of clutch turnovers to turn the tide.

Scores were level with 14.9 seconds remaining when Denmark called a tactical time-out.

In the next play, Denmark crossed over with 2.7 seconds remaining to retake the lead by one point.

Australia had one last opportunity to tie the scores and send the match into overtime, but a Hail Mary pass failed to come off, with Denmark players celebrating wildly once the final buzzer sounded.

The loss means Australia will need to beat France and Japan to finish in the top two of their group and progress to the semi-finals.

Frederiksen was toppled over three times during the opening quarter as Australia desperately tried to stop him, but his eight tries ensured scores were level at 14-14 at the first break.

READ MORE:

FIXTURES: SANZAAR confirm TRC

FLAGBEARER: Batt ready to lead Aussie Paralympians

REBEL RAID: Rebels sign Queensland duo

Scores were locked at 22-22 late in the first half before Australia secured a crucial turnover and a try in the dying moments to Ryley Batt.

Australia were left to rue a series of turnovers in the third quarter that allowed Denmark to turn a three-point deficit into a one-point lead at the final change.

The two teams traded tries during the final quarter, but Denmark were able to manipulate the clock in a manner that ensured they would have the last meaningful play of the match.

They made no mistake with the opportunity, crossing the line with just seconds remaining to ensure victory.

Ryley Batt scored 24 tries for Australia and Chris Bond chipped in with 17, but Denmark's determined defence came up trumps when it mattered most.

Share
Beauden Barrett is refusing to buy into the recent form of South Africa, expecting an ambush in their 100th Test between the nations. Photo: Getty Images
Barrett expects Boks to 'rise to challenge' in 100th All Black clash
Lloyd Walker presenting the Wallabies the First Nations jersey in 2020. Photo: Getty Images
First Nations Wallabies: Lloyd Walker
Sean McMahon is pushing to end his exile from the Wallabies side. Photo: Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media
Sean McMahon ready to be unleashed after sudden Wallabies return
Mario Ledesma is wary of Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi after his strong showing against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
Argentina wary of Kerevi going beast-mode in Townsville Test
Rugby.com.au Logo

The Rugby.com.au are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.