USA Picks up Second Win, First Loss in World Championship Pool Play
Vejle, Denmark – Team USA brought their tournament record to 2-1 after a 48-49 loss to France and a 50-39 win over New Zealand during day two of the 2022 WWR World Championships.
Game one featured a fierce back and forth battle with France and while the U.S. had a 3 try lead going into the half, turnovers allowed the French squad to even the score, then break ahead. With the clock on their side, France was able to get the decisive final try to win the match. “France is clearly the best defensive team we’ve played all year,” said Coach Joe Delagrave. “We can and will use the lessons learned in this game to make us even better in the next.”
The U.S. would re-group for the evening game and it was clear from the tip off that this game would be quite different for the Americans. Running multiple successful lines throughout the match, the U.S. finished on top 50-39. “Historically we don’t lose very much in pool play but we preach about choosing to respond to adversity,” said Delagrave. “I thought that helped us find our heartbeat a little bit. We had a talk about our bench, our sideline demeanor. The guy that was the catalyst for that was our captain, Chuck Aoki. I think he showed them how to have heart on the bench.” Top scorers for the United States against New Zealand were Aoki with 12 and Eric Newby (Godfrey, IL) with 9. Newby was also named the WWR player of the match.
The final day of pool play will be another two-game day for the U.S. with a 5:15 a.m. CT match vs. Switzerland and 1:15 p.m. CT against reigning Paralympic champion, Great Britain.
Catch the livestream of all the action from Vejle at 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.