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Kiwis prevail in double overtime thriller
New Zealand narrowly defeated Great Britain in double overtime to claim the bronze medal at the International Wheelchair Rugby Four Nations Tournament.
With the scores tied up at 46 goals apiece at full time, it took two extra periods of extra time before the New Zealanders could find the decisive move and pushed over the line to claim a stunning 53-52 victory.
The nail biting match left Great Britain without a win for the tournament, although leading player Andy Barrow said the team was happy with their performance.
“This game was very close. It was a great game for our team to learn in and for many on our team it was the biggest game of their lives. It hurt to lose but we’re actually very happy with what we’ve achieved on this tour,” he said.
Boasting five new players Great Britain’s 2.5-pointer Ross Morrison said today’s result was part of the bigger picture in the lead up the London Paralympic Games in 2012.
“It was very emotional and so close with the lead switching hands. But it was a cracking game from everybody and to see our new guys come up against a world class team like New Zealand and play some quality rugby was great,” said Morrison.
It was an unpleasant hour and a half for New Zealand Head Coach Greg Mitchell as he watched his team move in and out of the lead.
“It was painful,” he said. “It’s really hard to watch when things get that close. You just have to trust the guys out there and trust that everything they’ve been trained to do is put into practice.
“Overall the tournament has been great. Our performance has been subpar at times so we just have to lift our own game to compete with the other top teams.”
Closing with the gold medal match between Australia and New Zealand, the tournament at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre was staged by the Australian Paralympic Committee.