Great Britain run Australia close at BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge

PUBLISHED: 19:53 13 October 2015 | UPDATED: 19:53 13 October 2015

Welwyn Garden City's Chris Ryan (22) in action for GB against Australia

Welwyn Garden City's Chris Ryan (22) in action for GB against Australia

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Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby captain Chris Ryan felt his side proved they can mix it with the best after a narrow 57-55 loss to world champions and London 2012 Paralympic gold medal winners Australia.

Earlier this evening (Tuesday), GB took on the side from down under in the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Welwyn Garden City’s Ryan, who came on in the final quarter and scored a try which brought his side to within a point of Australia, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Today is massive, we have proved a point to ourselves that we can take on these top teams.”

GB have already secured qualification for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the European Championships and are on course to battle for medals in Brazil next year.

To do that, they will have to continue closing the ever narrowing gap between them and the world’s top four of Australia, Canada, USA and Japan.

“It was a great test for us, it was the closest we’ve come to Australia in a long time,” said Ryan.

“Every step closer we can take towards them is massive and that was taking more than one step.

“We went out there trying to win and that’s the first time we have realistically done that against them with this team.

“We have done ourselves proud, we kept their strike-line on, we wore them out, it was a great performance from the team and hopefully we can take that into the game with Japan [on Wednesday].”

Of performing in front of a home crowd, he added: “The home support gives you the extra couple of goals you need, they [Australia] couldn’t hear anything towards the end [because of the noise] you could see they were panicking and that’s the kind of thing that can make a difference and it is making a difference.”

Of his own display, Ryan added: “It was quite difficult coming on like that, we have got certain line-ups that are suited to play certain teams and you have to accept that as a player, to spent three quarters on the bench and to come on is difficult.”


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