Vejle, Denmark – The United States are the silver medalists at the 2022 WWR World Championships after a 55-58 loss to new world champion, Australia.
Tied 15-15 after the end of the first, there were only small slivers of light between the teams in the offensive showdown resulting in the high scoring match. Australia was able to capitalize on turnovers throughout and while the score was still tied at the half, they were able to force the U.S. into a 44-46 deficit at the end of the third. While the Americans worked to find opportunities to create turnovers, they were unable to shake the aggressive Australian offense that has been the hallmark of that team for many years. As the fourth opened it seemed there may be opportunity, but another U.S. turnover would prove to seal the win for Australia.
While the U.S. was focused on victory today, they also acknowledged that there is pride in advancing to the gold medal match for the first time in 10 years. “We kept our podium streak intact which is important for our program, “ said Coach Joe Delagrave. “We pride ourselves on being a podium team, which is so so hard to do given the level of rugby that was played this week here in Vejle. We came into this World Championship wanting to establish a new culture, a new way to play the game, tonight, we did not play well. We didn’t play well offensively, defensively, and we didn’t have good clock management and we aren’t going to win games that way. We will get better; we have 22 months till Paris and that’s time to build our identity and trust the process. It is amazing what we have achieved in 11 months, I can’t imagine what we will be able to do in double that time.”
In addition to today’s silver medal, Lee Fredette (East Moriches, NY) was named best in class 1.0; Josh Wheeler (Tucson, AZ) was named best in class 2.5 and Chuck Aoki (Minneapolis, MN) best 3.0 of the 2022 World Championships. If you missed any of this week’s incredible rugby action from Viejle visit https://worldwheelchair.rugby/2022/10/09/watch-the-2022-wheelchair-rugby-world-championships/ and check in for all the stats and highlights at usawr.org.