24 August 2021
Prolific Roberts inspires ParalympicsGB to opening wheelchair rugby triumph
Jim Roberts scored 27 tries to lead ParalympicsGB to a pulsating 50-47 victory over Canada in their mixed wheelchair rugby opener.
Great Britain’s quest for a first-ever medal in one of the Paralympic Games’ most iconic disciplines – called murderball when it was founded – began with a confident win in Group B.
And with reigning champions Australia going down to debutants Denmark, one of the shocks of the opening day of the whole Games, Roberts feels anything is possible.
“It was a really good performance,” he said. “The game was very physical, I’ll probably have some bruises in the morning from that one!
“They’re a class act of a team to play against and one of my favourites to play.
The game was very physical, I'll probably have some bruises in the morning from that one!
“It’s been a splintered build-up, it’s been annoying, not being able to get the competition, and no-one’s seen what the other teams will bring.
“The Australia result was a prime example of that and Denmark have stepped up a lot in the last few years and started putting a team together.
“The tournament’s wide open, it will be one of the toughest tournaments there’s ever been at the Paralympics which is great for the sport.”
Roberts was part of the ParalympicsGB side who finished fifth at Rio 2016, a global standing they have since upgraded to fourth at the 2018 World Championships.
Jim Roberts scored 27 tries for ParalympicsGB in their victory over Canada
They held Canada, led by the 31 tries of Zak Madell, at arm’s length throughout and took a 25-22 lead into half-time.
Thanks to a 14-try contribution from Stuart Robinson, who consistently linked up well with Roberts, they maintained a two-point advantage for the final three minutes and sealed a morale-boosting victory.
They face New Zealand next in their second group game at the Yoyogi National Stadium, with the top two teams in groups of four advancing to the semi-finals.
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