Steelers reach rugby semi-finals despite loss | Blue Mountain Gazette
The Steelers are cracking up after their Japanese rivals convincingly beat them 57-53 in Paralympic wheelchair rugby.
Despite only one victory in three group matches, Australia qualified for Saturday’s semi-final against Great Britain or the United States.
Japan were undefeated in their pool and France and Denmark also took one victory each.
France’s victory over Denmark earlier on Friday meant Australia would progress and the Steelers admit that may have affected their attitude for the game against Japan.
“It was probably the wrong mindset, but it is what it is,” said Ryley Batt.
Either way, he said the Steelers lacked intensity on Friday.
“We just weren’t hungry enough today, they came out a lot fiercer than us and we weren’t ourselves usually,” Batt said.
“We’ve had some ups and downs in this tournament.
“I’m a bit annoyed that we didn’t fight harder in this game.”
Batt had a top 30 tries despite having issues with his wheelchair belt.
Shae Graham, the first woman to play for the Steelers, said they were “lucky” to reach the semi-finals as they aimed for a third straight Paralympic gold.
She added a rushed routine after Thursday’s win over France could have affected them.
“Possibly we were a little too focused on what the other teams were doing, instead of focusing on our preparation for the game,” she said.
“But our goal is always to go out there and win.
“There was a bit of a rush last night, coming back, recovering, trying to fall asleep.
“So it might have been a bit of a rush and a panic… but we’ll do a lot better tomorrow.”
Australia opened the tournament with a loss to Denmark.
Associated Australian Press