Wheelchair rugby: Canada dumps Denmark to remain unbeaten
RICHMOND, B.C. – Nine different players put their names on the scoresheet Friday night as Canada defeated Denmark 56-46 to remain undefeated at the Canada Cup wheelchair rugby tournament.
Canada and Japan, the Paralympic Games bronze medallist, are both 3-0 after Friday’s games. Paralympic champion Great Britain follows at 2-2 while Australia and Denmark are 1-2 and France is 0-4. The top two after the round robin concludes Saturday will advance to the gold medal game Sunday while third and fourth will fight for the bronze.
Canadian scoring machine Zak Madell played almost the entire game and notched 25 tries. Mike Whitehead added eight, Cody Caldwell seven, Fabien Lavoie five, team co-captain Patrice Dagenais and Travis Murao three apiece, Matt Debly and co-captain Trevor Hirschfield two each and Eric Furtado-Rodrigues one.
‘’We are very pleased with the performance of our players but not 100 percent satisfied,” said Canada’s assistant coach and Paralympian David Willsie. ‘’They are on task, and they are bringing it.”
The turning point of the game was early in the second quarter when Canada scored four unanswered points to take a 21-18 lead. Whitehead scooped up a missed pass to tie the game and Madell followed with two tries on a man advantage and after a pass interception.
The Danish, who were coming off an upset of Great Britain earlier in the day, stayed within three points until the end of the third quarter before a series of turnovers sunk them.
‘’Denmark is one of the countries that is so deep,’’ said Willsie. ‘’So they are going to run their lines and we just have to stay consistent and go with the ebb and flow of the game. We’re playing clean and scoring easy which gives us more energy on defense.”
Canada, fifth in Tokyo last summer, completes its round robin Saturday with matches against Great Britain at 12 pm. local (3 p.m. ET) and Japan at 6 p.m. local (9 p.m. ET).
‘’We just can’t let the foot off the gas against these great teams,’’ said Willsie. ‘’If we want to be considered great, we have to beat them. The guys are getting better, and I wouldn’t bet against us.’’
Canada has never won the Canada Cup, now in its ninth edition, but has finished second three times. It has placed fourth at the last two Canada Cups in 2016 and 2018.
All of Canada’s round-robin games as well as the bronze and gold medal matches are being livestreamed on the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Facebook page and Paralympic.ca as well as CBC Sports digital platforms: the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
To learn more about Canada Cup, visit CanadaCupWCRugby.com. Please visit Paralympic.ca/Paralympic-super-series for more information on the Super Series and follow @CDNParalympics for live updates during the tournament.
Competition continues through to Sunday
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