Steelers suffer Para rugby semi loss to US

Ryley Batt scored 25 tries but Australia were unable to beat the US in their wheelchair rugby semi.
Ryley Batt scored 25 tries but Australia were unable to beat the US in their wheelchair rugby semi.

Australia will not defend their Paralympic wheelchair rugby gold medal after suffering a 49-42 loss to the United States in their semi-final.

Saturday night's contest was a rematch of the 2016 gold medal showdown, where the Steelers prevailed 59-58, but on this occasion, the US snatched an early lead and never really looked back, sealing a gold medal clash with Great Britain.

It means Australia will face Japan - who lost 55-49 to Great Britain in the other semi - having lost three of four matches in Tokyo.

The Steelers will need to deliver a better showing than their most recent clash with Japan to seal bronze, after being comprehensively beaten 57-53 on Friday.

On Saturday night, the Steelers had no answers for tournament top-scorer Charles Aoki, who scored 27 tries, while Australian skipper Ryley Batt was next-best with 25, despite sitting out the final quarter.

Australia were made to rue their turnovers, giving up the ball 10 times to the US' three across the match.

The USA grabbed a slender 13-11 lead at quarter-time and they nudged it out to 28-23 at the main break - despite Batt racking up 18 tries in the first half alone.

Needing a response after halftime, the Steelers were unable to work their way back into the contest and the US pushed their lead out to a-near unassailable seven points at three-quarter time.

The Australians were unable to mount the unlikely comeback and will have to quickly turn their attention to Sunday's bronze medal match.

Australian Associated Press