Category: News

Day 4: Australia wins the Cup in Accor Arena!

Sunday at the Accor Arena was shaping up to be an historic day – and it was! The very first handisport event to be held in the legendary arena in the 12th arrondissement of Paris proved to be a resounding success.

Australia makes its mark on the international stage

The final of the tournament pitted the two teams who had previously opened the competition at the Halle Carpentier against each other, Canada and Australia. The two best teams since Wednesday, the Canadians, who were unbeaten, and the Australians, who had just one defeat on their record… against the same Canada, and by just one point!

The final promised to be a wide-open affair, with the dynamic forwards in fine form, such as Madell and Bond. The first half was very evenly balanced on both sides, with the Steelers relying on their aggressive defence to take a 26-25 half-time lead. The second half only served to accentuate this trend, as the Australians never let up, and in fact controlled the game right up until the buzzer. A victory that could not have been more logical given the game. The Steelers’ next objective is to secure their ticket to the Paralympic Games and return to Paris in less than a year’s time.

Ranking matches

In the match for 3rd place, the Japanese and the French met again as in the group stage, but this time on the floor of the Accor Arena. It was a different kind of match too, a decisive one for a spot on the podium. The French fans had taken note of the date and packed into the stands to support their team. This support was crucial, as Les Bleus led the way for most of the match in a frenzied atmosphere. They outplayed their Japanese counterparts, but broke down in the last two minutes when they had a two-try lead. Three careless throw-ins led to three lost balls, each of which resulted in three Japanese tries. It was a final that sent the crowd into raptures, as did the French team, who were so well on their way in their quest for bronze. As a result, Japan climbed to 3rd place on the podium and the host nation finished 4th, which was still a positive result for Bob Vanacker’s team, both overall and in terms of the content of the matches.

The clash for 5th place between the United States and Great Britain was not really expected so early in the day. The fixture was the last final of the Paralympic Games, where the British won gold under the nose of Team USA. So we had two teams facing each other with a sense of revenge and wanting to make up for a disappointing tournament. In the end, it was the reigning Paralympic champions who got the better of their opponents and gave a little more depth to a tournament that had fallen short of their expectations. As for the Americans, despite getting off to a flying start against the French team, they looked more and more out of sorts physically as the competition wore on.

The opening match of the day saw two teams in search of their first win of the tournament, New Zealand and Denmark. Despite an excellent start from the WheelBlacks, they were unable to hold on for long periods, probably due to their shallow bench strength, as they only came to Paris with 7 players. Denmark raised their game in the second half to take 7th place in the tournament. Despite being bronze medallists at the last European Championship, the Danes did not appear to be in top form during the competition and were unable to compete with the best teams in the world.

The final day brought the International Cup to a close with a fireworks display featuring some great teams and players. The French public were able to discover or rediscover this sport and its special characteristics, and all the spectators were won over by this unique sport! Paris will once again be the capital of wheelchair rugby in 10 months’ time for the 2024 Paralympic Games, with the best teams in the world chasing, a golden dream.

The final ranking

Winner – Australia

Finalist – Canada

3rd – Japan

4th – France

5th – Great Britain

6th – United States

7th – Denmark

8th – New Zealand

MVPs by classification

0.5 : Jack Smith – Great Britain

1: Lee Fredette – USA

1.5 : Cédric Nankin – France

2: Cody Caldwell – Canada

2.5 : Cameron Leslie – New Zealand

3 : Jonathan Hivernat – France

3.5 : Zak Madell – Canada

All the photos of the tournament

Day 4: Canadians ans Australians take to the Accor Arena

Saturday marked the start of the final phase. Two high-flying semi-finals were on the programme, in addition to the classification matches for the teams that did not qualify for the last four.

Today, the French team faced a mountain pass that was out of its league. After climbing the Japanese mountain yesterday, the team led by Jonathan Hivernat and Cédric Nankin set their sights on the previously unbeaten Canadian peaks.

Once again, France were pushed forward by the large numbers of fans in the stands at the Halle Carpentier. After a hard-fought first half, France managed to hold off the North American armada, and by half-time the 24-24 scoreline perfectly reflected the mood of the match. It was at the start of the 4th quarter that Canada managed to open up a +3 lead, thanks to the inevitable Zak Madell, who was always in the right place. At the time, it looked like they were heading for an easy qualification, but that was without counting on a burst of pride from the Tricolores. Boosted by a frenzied crowd, they came back to within a point of grabbing a decisive interception on the last possession, but to no avail. It was a frustrating defeat for the French, but one they have no regrets about, as their opponents were slightly better and more clinical in important moments. Canada continue their perfect record in the tournament and will be in the final at the Accor Arena.

The Canadian team’s star striker, Zak Madell, admits they had their work cut out this afternoon: “We played incredibly well, and France played incredibly well too. It was the toughest game I can remember playing against the French team in my career. Every time we played against them, they got stronger and we found it hard to contain them.”

The second battle for the final was between Australia and Japan, two nations that had had their ups and downs in the group phase. Japan started as slight favourites given their recent encounters, but they never really got into the game. Despite being so dynamic, the Japanese forwards were never able to break down a defence that gave them no respite. Entangled in the Steelers’ grids, Japan never troubled Brad Dubberley’s team in terms of scoring. The Steelers have gone from strength to strength since the start of the tournament, putting in increasingly convincing performances, particularly defensively. The Australians were able to manage the end of the match, winning 52-48.

The Canadians and Australians will now meet again for the title, having already met in the group stage. Canada won by a single try in a very even match. After a superb opening match on Wednesday morning, there is no doubt that they will once again provide us with 32 minutes of very high quality to decide the first ever International Cup.

Japan, who were beaten yesterday by the French team, will be keen to make up for their defeat by the French to snatch 3rd place. But they will have their work cut out in a packed Accor Arena behind their team.

Ranking matches

As far as the two classification matches were concerned, logic was respected on both occasions. Great Britain and the United States, who were both contenders for the final victory, did not stumble against New Zealand and Denmark respectively. Even if the Americans gave themselves a real scare, squandering a clear lead on the scoreboard. The Danes, who came from nowhere at the end of the match, managed to hang on to extra time in the dying moments, but failed to win in the end. The New Zealanders and Danes seemed a notch below the other teams in this International Cup and were unable to make the most of their qualities against more established opponents.

The latter will face each other tomorrow in the opening match of the day at the Accor Arena at 11am, while an Anglo-Saxon duel will pit American and British teams against each other at 1pm to see which of them will finish 5th.

Sunday’s schedule

11h00: New Zealand VS Denmark – Match 7-8

13:00: Great Britain VS Denmark – Match 5-6

3.30pm: Japan VS France – Bronze medal match

17:30: Closing ceremony

7.00pm: Canada VS Australia – Final

8.30pm: Awards ceremony

Day 3: France at the buzzer, USA on the mat!

The final day of the group phase promised to send the Halle Carpentier into an absolute frenzy, and we were not disappointed! It was an absolutely crazy day, rounded off by a breathtaking Japan-France match.

The Japanese and the Tricolores faced off in a decisive duel. The hosts were desperate for a win to advance to the semi-finals, while the Japanese already had one foot in the last four. The atmosphere was electric before kick-off, with the crowd going wild and the athem sung in unison.

In the opening minutes, the two teams seemed to be on equal terms, exploiting every opportunity and possession of the ball. France, needing to win to continue their run, took every possible risk in the first half. Those risks paid off, with Les Bleus leading by +4 at the break.

Up front, captain Jonathan Hivernat was in exceptional form, flying over the pitch and converting every one of his team’s recoveries and passes. In defence, Cédric Nankin and Les Bleus disgusted and thwarted the Japanese attacks. France, more determined than ever, managed to extend their lead, surpassing a Japanese team that had dominated the competition until now. Buoyed by a frenzied crowd, Les Bleus won the match in spectacular fashion, 50-49, and snatched qualification at the buzzer, thanks to a try from the inevitable Hivernat.

Paralympic champions miss out

The British had their backs against the wall this morning, determined to win against Canada, who were unbeaten until then. The British showed from the very first seconds that they had not underestimated either the match or their opponents. Canada, quick to win the ball back from the start, opened the scoring. But the British, whose survival in the competition depended on this match, held on tightly, competing with a spirited Canadian team.

On the restart, the Phipps-Robinson duo seemed to transcend the British game, with the intensity of the match reaching its peak, but Canada remained unperturbed, not relinquishing the lead with Zak Madell piling on the tries. In a breathless finale, the Paralympic champions narrowly missed out on an equaliser, seeing their hopes of a semi-final place extinguished with one second remaining by losing 47-48. Canada thus ensured their qualification and preserved their unbeaten record in the tournament.

In the same group, Australia also had to beat Denmark, who had not won a game so far. Stung in their pride, the Danes managed to hold off the world champions at the break. But after the break, despite neither side wanting to concede a single try, the Steelers eventually took the lead. The Australians maintained their lead thanks to an unstoppable attack led by Batt, ending Denmark’s hopes of qualification with an emphatic 57-50 victory.

In the other match of the day, the United States easily disposed of the Wheel Blacks. It was a futile victory, however, as they eventually finished 3rd, a performance that fell short of the expectations of the world’s number one team.

The final rankings


Starting tomorrow, it’s time for the final four! Two matches between 4 heavyweights of the world circuit to reach the final at the Accor Arena. The non-qualified teams will play classification matches for places 5 to 8.

Tomorrow’s schedule

Day 2: France bounces back, Japan and Canada continue their winning ways

At the end of another tightly contested second day, the future of the International Cup became clearer, revealing some trends for the rest of the tournament.

To open the second day, France took on New Zealand. After losing to the United States yesterday, Les Bleus were keen to show their determination and needed to win to stay alive in the competition. The early stages of the match were evenly balanced, but France quickly raised their game. A fighting spirit and faultless play enabled them to establish a substantial five-try lead by half-time.

Faced with this pressure, New Zealand adjusted their game at the start of the second half. The Tricolores, spurred on by their captain Jonathan Hivernat who galvanised the fans, not only maintained but accentuated their domination of the field. Their superiority was rewarded with a resounding and well-deserved 46-37 victory, confirming their position as a formidable force in the tournament.

This was followed by the Group B clash between the United States and Japan, both victorious and playing for qualification. During the first half, neither team managed to assert a clear superiority. The USA held a slender one-try lead at the break. Refusing to give ground to the Americans, Japan took a slight lead, outscoring Team USA by a decisive try. Galvanised by some excellent defensive phases and a powerful Ikezaki/Shimakawa pairing, they capitalised on the counter-attacks. All to the cheers of a fervent and loyal Nippon crowd. The match ended in a deserved win for Japan, 55-50.

With two impressive victories under their belts, Japan have established themselves not only as credible title contenders, but also as a formidable opponent for France tomorrow.

The Canada-Denmark duel quickly turned into an exciting tug-of-war. Point after point, the teams went blow for blow, orchestrating ingenious systems on the pitch. Buoyed by their triumphant momentum on the first day, Canada managed to get the better of the Danes with a two-point lead at the break. After the restart, the battle intensified between the two teams, but it was the unwavering solidarity and experience of key players such as Madell that won the day. The Canadians marked their territory and won 50-46.

Australia rise to dominate Great Britain in a thrilling match

The face-off between Australia, crowned champions of the last World Championships, and Great Britain, Paralympic gold medallists, immediately set the stage alight. The pressure was heavy on the Australians’ shoulders, following the disappointing defeat of the previous day. The echoes of the resounding collisions between the chairs testified to the commitment on both sides. Both teams returned to the locker room with the score level. However, on the restart, the Steelers capitalised on the mistakes of their British counterparts, extending their lead on opposing possessions and building a precious lead. Although they were constantly under threat from a British team that stubbornly refused to relent. Australia, galvanised by the thought of potential elimination from the competition, managed to win 50-48, putting them back in the tournament.

Tomorrow promises to be another exciting day, and we’ll know the semi-final line-ups for the tournament!

The rankings

Tommorow’s schedule

Day 1: an exciting start

The first day of the International Cup set off a flurry of excitement, with each match brimming with intensity, strategy and a burning desire to win. From almost one-sided displays to neck-and-neck duels, spectators saw the very best in international rugby.

World champions fall at the first attempt

The opening clash of the competition between Canada and Australia was a real thriller, ending in a spectacular 49-48 victory for Canada, thanks to a decisive try scored in the final seconds that tipped the balance. This tight duel, imbued with great intensity and determination, set the pace for the rest of the week. The competition promises to be both unpredictable and extremely exciting. The Steelers now have no margin for error if they are to qualify for the final four.

A vibrant opening ceremony to launch the tournament

The opening ceremony was a real spectacle for the spectators! The delegations paraded under a blazing arc of wreaths of fire and each nation was greeted by an electrified crowd, with the French team receiving a memorable standing ovation. After the speeches by the officials, a breakdance set the stage alight, before a banda set the Halle Carpentier alight with a real rugby atmosphere, on a par with the Jean-Dauger stadium in Bayonne.

After that, the hosts took on the United States, the world’s top-ranked team. The crowd was ready to support their team with unbridled fervour, and the first few minutes of the match bore witness to the intensity of this first day. The teams battled relentlessly, refusing to give an inch. The level of play was equal to the stakes, with each team fiercely determined to win. Every point scored by France was greeted by an explosion of cheers from the crowd, and although the Americans were favourites, the Tricolores gave them a tough time. The match ended with a 53-51 victory for the Eagles, but the French team was able to show its potential and talent against the leading team on the circuit.

Japan and Great Britain provide

The match between Great Britain and Denmark was a demonstration of strength. After a tight start and slight domination, Great Britain gradually extended their lead thanks to impenetrable defence and aggressive play. The Danish, however, did not give in easily, reducing an 8-point deficit to just 4. But the consistency of the British allowed them to win 55-49 in this battle of commitment.

Against New Zealand, Japan put on a display of strategic and athletic mastery. Forwards Ikezaki and Hashimoto excelled, breaking through the opposition’s defence with decisive systems. Despite the unwavering commitment of the Wheel Blacks, Japan’s dominance was undeniable, and they went on to claim their first victory, 52-36, which underlines their position as serious contenders for the title.


Tomorrow’s schedule

Thursday promises to be just as exciting, with Australia and France in particular having no margin for error.