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15 April 2015

Day 3 Preview of IWRF European Division B Championship

Written by Nathan Bragg

 

The third day of action at the IWRF European Division B Championships in Prague will features three pool games. 

 

Gold medal favourite France (1-0) will take on Italy (0-1) to open Day 3. After getting demolished by Ireland 63-27 in their first game, the Italians will be hoping for a better showing against the tournament favourites. While Ryadh Sallem will be hoping to continue his strong form to carry France to a second win. Expect French coach Olivier Cusin to give some of his newer players like Christophe Salegui experience in what should be a lopsided win for France. 

 

The second game of the day will see Switzerland (1-0) against newcomer Russia (0-1). The Swiss showed their skill in their tournament opener by pushing past Poland 37-33, and relying on multiple contributors rather than one or two key players. The Russians should know what to expect now from this level of competition, and focus on the positives from their first half against the Czechs rather than what went wrong in the third quarter. This game should go to the Swiss rather easily, but Russia should gain some important takeaways moving forward.

 

The final game of the day should be the closest as Ireland (1-0) meets Austria (0-1) in a match that could decide who goes to the semifinals and who’s Road to Rio comes to an end.

 

Ireland had a great performance in the first game on Tuesday, dominating Italy from the opening tip and getting all their players some valuable playing time. The one-two hi-pointer punch of Thomas Moylan and Alan Dineen might be the best in the tournament as they possess elite speed. The Austrians on the other hand struggled in their first game losing by 14 to France, however they have the talent to make this a good game with Ireland as their more balanced 3-2-1.5-1.0 line could spread the floor against the hi-lo. Roman Zechmeister has the speed to take on the Irish hi-pointers which should lead to an entertaining game. A storyline to watch is what line Austria decides to use against the Irish hi-lo as they ran several line-ups against France. 

 

Poland (0-2) and the Czech Republic (1-1) both get Day 3 off after opening the competition on Monday night. After tomorrow’s games there should be a much clear picture of the possible semifinal match-ups as these eight teams continue to fight for one of two spots at September’s IWRF European A Division Championships where two teams will qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

 

Click HERE for full results and webcast schedule.

 


 

Day 2 in Review - IWRF European Division B Championship

 

Written by Nathan Bragg                                                                                             14 April 2015

 

After the second day of competition, the pools and the contenders have become clearer. All eight teams played a match today, with three blowouts and one fairly close affair.

 

In the first match of the day, the Irish team dominated the Italians, gaining some revenge for their loss at the European qualifiers in 2013. Thomas Moylan lit up the scoreboard and drew plenty of Italian attention, but they could not find a way to slow him down. Veteran class 1.0 Alan Lynch made some great plays on both sides of the ball and really complimented the young duo Dineen and Moylan. Ireland makes a statement winning 63-27.

 

The second game was the closest of the day with Switzerland getting the best of Poland by four 37-33, thanks to some strong team defence and effective offensive play from Toni Schilling. The win establishes the Swiss as the favourite in Pool B, and a contender for one of the two bids to the A division championships.

 

France solidified their place as the gold medal favourite with a dominating 19 point win over Austria. Ryadh Sallem was an absolute force on both sides of the ball and he received strong support from Sebastien Lhussier and the defensive skill of Cedric Nankin. Austria kept it close in the 1st quarter as they trailed by five, 18-13. In the second, France gave new 3.5 Christophe Salegui some playing time and he had a strong performance on a hi-lo line-up with Hivernat, Neuman and Chalmain. The French had a 14 point lead at halftime, but the Austrians never stopped fighting and tried multiple lines in an attempt to pull closer in the second half, but ultimately lost 57-38 to an experienced and highly ranked French side.

 

After losing the tournament opener Monday night, the Czechs were hungry for a win to please their home fans. Playing against European Championship debutant Russia. The Russians had a good first half for such a young team and only trailed by six at halftime, however the Czechs increased their pressure in the third eventually running away from the Russians and winning 47-31.


Russian 3.0 Illa Mysliaev showed tremendous speed and maneverability, expect to see more of him as the tournament progresses.

 

At the end of Day 2, the pools are starting to take shape. In addition to France, the Irish and Swiss look like real contenders to take home the inaugural B division title.

 

Pool A

Win/Loss   Goal Difference

Ireland (1-0)  +36

France (1-0)  +19

Austria (0-1)  -19

Italy (0-1) -36

 

Pool B

Switzerland (1-0)  +4

Poland (1-1)  -3 with tiebreaker over Czech Republic

Czech Republic (1-1) +15

Russia (0-1)  -16

 


 

Road to Rio starts at the IWRF European Division B Championship

 

Written by Nathan Bragg                                                                                             13 April 2015

 

With the 2016 Rio Paralympics less than 18 months away, qualification has begun for the wheelchair rugby competition in Prague with the IWRF European Division B Championship. This is the first division B championship as the IWRF announced a new divisional format for the European zone. The top six teams from the 2013 championships in Belgium automatically qualify for the European championships to be held in Finland this September. They are Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Finland. The two remaining spots will go to the finalists from this week’s event. Then the top two teams from the A division will qualify for the Paralympics.

 

Despite being the second tier of European rugby, there are some great teams in Prague going for gold.France is the favourite after finishing above Finland, Belgium and Germany at last year’s IWRF World Championship in Denmark. Also joining them is Switzerland who put together a competitive showing at the 2014 Canada Cup. The Irish team comes into the tournament with a lot of momentum from some impressive results in the BT Super Series in Great Britain, and a dominating performance in a friendly against Italy last month. Their two young hi-pointers, Alan Dineen and Thomas Moylan could take over a few games in Prague. Russia will be making their European Championships debut. Austria, Italy and host Czech Republic round out the field.

 

After 3 round robin games, the top 2 teams from each pool move onto the semi-finals and the bottom two teams enter the consolation bracket. The semi-finals will serve as a qualification match for the IWRF European Division A Championship.

 

The pools and the teams’ corresponding world ranking are as follows:

 

Pool A

  • #9 France (0-0)
  • #15 Austria (0-0)
  • #16 Italy (0-0)
  • #23 Ireland (0-0)

Pool B

  • #14 Poland (1-0)
  • #13 Switzerland (0-0)
  • Unranked Russia (0-0)
  • #18 Czech Republic (0-1)

The tournament’s first game was an exciting affair that went to overtime. Despite leading by as many as five goals in the second quarter, the Czechs couldn’t capitalize on their lead or the home crowd and lost 49-48 in overtime to the resilient Polish team that proved they won’t go down easy to anyone.

 

Tomorrow there are 4 games with Italy taking on Ireland, Switzerland battling Poland, France playing Austria, and the host Czech Republic welcoming Russia to their first European Championship.