10 August 2019
GB claim seventh Wheelchair Rugby European title
Head coach Paul Shaw was full of pride after his Great Britain side stormed to a third consecutive Wheelchair Rugby European title – defeating hosts Denmark 55-45 in Vejle.
GB came into Sunday’s final as firm favourites to retain their crown after defeating the Danes in the pool stages on Friday, but Shaw’s side were pushed hard in the early stages.
After a neck-and-neck first quarter GB managed to edge ahead in the second and took a 29-27 lead into halftime.
Consistent pressure was key for Shaw’s side as they followed 15 points in the second with 15 in the third to open a comfortable 44-38 gap.
That gave GB breathing room and impressive game management saw them over the line to claim their seventh European title.
“I am full of pride,” said Shaw. “This week has been a pleasure and a privilege to be with this team. They have done excellently, and it is a brilliant achievement to have won another European title.
“Denmark were very good today and we knew that we had to stay calm in the moments where they put us under pressure, especially early on.
Ryan Cowling with the European trophy
“But we did that well and the team knew that if they played their game and stayed calm that the rest would fall into place.”
As well as another title to add to their collection the GB team also sealed their place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after their victory over Sweden in Saturday’s semi-final.
And, with a little more than one year to go until the team will look to take on the best in the world at the Paralympic Games, skipper Gavin Walker is hoping his side have laid down a marker and made others sit up and take note.
“The rest of the world will have been watching that and I hope we’ve sent a message today that we will be a threat when Tokyo comes around,” said Walker.
“We’ve worked on being fitter, more clinical and being calm under pressure and those things showed today, the team have done really this week.
“It wasn’t our best game today, we know that. But we did what we had to do and we were able to “perform well when it really mattered.
“To win a third on the bounce is brilliant, we’ve got a lot of good players coming through and I’m hoping it’s something that we can keep going for many more years.”
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Head coach Shaw targets European Championships for Paralympics spot
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Great Britain to face USA for bronze after semi-final loss to Australia
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