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Rio 2016: Slender loss for GB wheelchair rugby squad

PUBLISHED: 17:24 14 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:24 14 September 2016

Great Britain's Jim Roberts goes into the scoring zone against Australia in the first match of the wheelchair rugby competition at the Paralympic Games in Rio

Great Britain's Jim Roberts goes into the scoring zone against Australia in the first match of the wheelchair rugby competition at the Paralympic Games in Rio

PA/Press Association Images

First match ends in defeat against defending Paralympic champions

Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby squad suffered a narrow 53-51 defeat at the hands of reigning world and Paralympic champions Australia in their first match in Rio.

Debutant Jim Roberts scored 27 points in a battling performance from the Brits, who included east Londoner Bulbul Hussain and on several occasions came within a single point of the Australians’ lead.

But in an end-to-end game, it was tournament favourites Australia who succeeded, never once letting their lead slip after first going ahead through Andrew Harrison in the opening minute.

Roberts kept the Brits within touching distance of the victory, scoring five of GB’s opening six goals, with Gavin Walker and Ayaz Bhuta each scoring seven apiece.

The 2015 European champions will look to take their blistering form into their next pool game against top seeds Canada on Thursday.

Bhuta, who only entered the national squad after London 2012, said: “We’re disappointed that we lost but it was a great atmosphere and we fed off it.

“The crowd are really loud. ParalympicsGB has won gold medals every day and it has been an inspiration.

“We should have won that one, we felt we played well, but we have to put it behind us.

“We have every confidence going into the game against Canada so we’re really looking forward to it.”

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