Steelers reach rugby semis despite loss

·1-min read

The Steelers are smarting after rivals Japan convincingly beat them 57-53 in Paralympics wheelchair rugby.

Despite only one win from their three pool games, Australia progressed to Saturday's semi-final against either Great Britain or the United States.

Japan were unbeaten in their pool and France and Denmark also had one win apiece.

France's win over Denmark earlier on Friday meant Australia would progress and the Steelers admit that might have affected their attitude for the Japan game.

"It was probably the wrong mentality, but it is what it is," Ryley Batt said.

Regardless, he said the Steelers lacked intensity on Friday.

"We just weren't hungry enough today, they came out a lot more fierce than we did and we weren't our usual selves," Batt said.

"We've been a bit up and down in this tournament.

"I'm a little bit annoyed we didn't fight harder in that game."

Batt had a game-high 30 tries despite problems 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 aim for a third-straight Paralympic gold medal.

She added a hurried routine after Thursday's win over France might have affected them.

"Potentially we were a little too focused on what other teams were doing, instead of concentrating on our preparation for the game," she said.

"But our goal is always to go out there and win.

"There was a bit rush last night, getting back, recovery, trying to get to sleep.

"So it might have been a bit of a rush and panic ... but we'll do heaps better tomorrow."

Australia opened the tournament with an upset loss to Denmark.

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