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International Wheelchair Rugby returns to Sydney
Wheelchair rugby will return to Sydney Olympic Park this weekend when Australia does battle with Japan in a five-match series crucial to the London 2012 Paralympic Games preparations of both teams.
Watch all the action through our live webcast by clicking here.
The Australian Paralympic Committee will officially announce the Australian Team for London 2012 at the tournament’s opening ceremony on Friday morning at 10am, which will include a special performance from Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes and daughter Mahalia.
Then it will be down to business as the two teams fight for bragging rights with less than 120 days to go until the Paralympic opening ceremony.
Friday’s first match begins at 10:30am at Sydney Olympic Park’s State Sports Centre and entry is via a gold donation.
The Australian Steelers will enter the series buoyed by their victory at the recent Paralympic test event in London, but are taking nothing for granted against a Japanese team also riding a wave of momentum.
Japan won its first ever medal at a major wheelchair rugby tournament by taking bronze at the 2010 World Championships in Canada, and has been gunning for the world number two ranked Aussies ever since.
Australian wheelchair rugby coach Brad Dubberley is expecting an extremely torrid test for his men.
“This is the last time we’ll get to play in Australia before the Paralympics, so we are really eager to put on a great display of wheelchair rugby,” Dubberley said.
“London is not far away now and this tournament is all about preparing ourselves to perform as a team at the highest level. Japan is a great opponent and we’re expecting them to come out here fired up and ready to upset us.
“I thought we played well at the London test event and it was good to win it, but we were far from perfect. There is still a lot to work on and having Japan here gives us a great opportunity to finetune our plans and find out what else we need to work on.
“Our team loves playing international tournaments at home, and we will be trying to make the most of this opportunity. We’re hopeful that we’ll get some good support there too.”
Find out more about the sport of wheelchair rugby here: http://youtu.be/3E_vG0YG3OM
Australia v Japan
International Wheelchair Rugby Test Series
Sydney Olympic Park State Sports Centre
4-5 May 2012
Friday, 4 May
10:00 Opening Ceremony
10:30 Game 1
13:00 Game 2
16:00 Game 3
Saturday, 5 May
10:30 Game 4
13:00 Game 5
By Tim Mannion