With the IWRF world championships scheduled to start on Monday, a number of wheelchair rugby teams have already arrived in Odense, Denmark ahead of the competition, including both Canada and New Zealand. These two teams played a warm up match at the South Denmark University Training Facilities last night, which Canada won 68 – 52.
New Zealand had some issues with keeping the ball, turning it over sixteen times. The Canadian team capitalized five times off some of the Kiwi ball handling issues.
Canadian national team coach Kevin Orr was quoted by Canadian High Performance Director Andy Van Neutegem as saying, “it was exactly what we needed to see where we were in our travel adaptation process. The team played well!” The Canadian team got into Denmark for the competition on Monday night. The New Zealanders have been in Europe a bit longer, having gone to France and played a friendly there against their group rival in front of Paris’s town hall. One of their players, Nafi Lefono, joined the team late, only getting into Denmark the night before the friendly against Canada.
Canada comes into the tournament as world ranked number three, while New Zealand is tenth. The teams are not in the same groups for the start of the competition. New Zealand starts their campaign on Monday against France, while Canada opens their campaign against host nation Denmark on Tuesday. Prior to the competition getting underway, all teams have classification and competition wheelchair checks on Saturday.