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Wheel Blacks Set To Avenge Beijing Disappointment

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Wheel Blacks Set To Avenge Beijing Disappointment

Wellington, Nov 2 NZPA - New Zealand's wheelchair rugby team are looking to erase their Beijing Paralympics disappointment at this week's Asia-Oceania zone championships in Christchurch.

The Wheel Blacks, who finished fifth in Beijing last year, are ranked second for the tournament behind Australia.

A win in Sunday's final will lift them to No 2 in the world rankings.

Wheel Blacks' coach Greg Mitchell said the team had a strong core of experienced players with four of the squad -- Jai Waite, Dan Buckingham, Geremy Tinker and Curtis Palmer -- members of New Zealand's gold medal-winning team from Athens in 2004.

Mitchell said there had been a recent "hiccup" in preparation, with Adam Wakeford forced to withdraw after being concussed during a match. His place has been taken by Clayton Utia.

Apart from New Zealand and defending champions Australia, the other sides competing are Japan, Korea and South Africa. New Zealand has won the title once, in South Africa four years ago.

The New Zealand squad is: Martyn Payne, Jai Waite, Gavin Rolton, Clayton Utia, Dave Klinkhamer, Chris Lay, Geremy Tinker, Curtis Palmer, Steve Smith and Dan Buckingham.

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