Mon, Oct 23, 2023, 3:14 AM
Nathan Williamson

The Steelers have ensured Australia Rugby will leave France with silverware after taking out the 2023 International Wheelchair Rugby Cup in Paris.

They controlled the Final, overcoming Canada 53-48 to secure the title for the Australians

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It marks the first time World Rugby and World Wheelchair Rugby have collaborated to stage their premier competitions at the same time, with the event held at Paris' Accor Arena.

The Aussies were out for revenge in the final after Canada upset them in the opening game of the tournament 49-48.

Australia rebounded with three straight wins to book their spot in the gold medal match against the Canadians, who upset top-ranked USA.

Superstar Ryley Batt set the tempo early with a turnover from the opening play as the Australians took a one-point lead after the first quarter.

This was maintained into half-time before the Steelers ran away with the contest.

They built a four-point lead heading into the final quarter as Batt and captain Chris Bond combined to maintain the lead until the end.

It establishes the Steelers as the favourites heading into next year's Olympics following their World Championship victory in 2022.

World Rugby chief executive officer Alan Gilpin is hopeful the collaboration can continue and events can run side-by-side in Australia at Rugby World Cup 2027.

“There is a big opportunity for us to get more big events and these big events, we will bring them together,” he said.

“…We talk a lot with World Wheelchair Rugby about how we start to work together more on delivering competitions together so yeah, definitely

“We are really proud to have the International Wheelchair Rugby Cup as part of the Rugby World Cup. It is really important to present rugby as an inclusive sport. I am really proud to be here, there is a fantastic atmosphere.”

“It was the first time the International Wheelchair Rugby Cup has been hosted during the RWC. It is a turning point. All sporting events will include valid and disabled competitions in the future and all unions will have to feature a wheelchair or parasport department,” Chairman of France 2023 Jacques Rivoal added.