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Here, the 28-year-old wheelchair rugby star shares the basics of the sport which has allowed him to represent his country. As you’ll discover, there’s a fine art to the monster-hit..
RULES IS RULES
“There’s a shot clock in wheelchair rugby; you have 40 seconds from the time you inbound the ball to score at the other end. This has sped up the sport, resulting in really high-intensity games. As well, you have 12 seconds to get out of your backcourt; similar to basketball. You can pass back and forward. Scoring is like a touchdown; you’ve got to cross that line to score. Our game is a combination of a lot of different sports, but I think the most exciting part about it, the part that most people enjoy, is the full-contact side. To be able to jump into these chairs, wheel around and smash into other people is pretty exciting.”
PLAYING HIS PART
“I’m what’s called a high-pointer. Each player is given a classification, similar to any disabled sport. With rugby you’re only allowed to have eight points in total on the court at any one time: the lowest classification is .5 with the maximum being 3.5. If you’re on the lower end, you’ve got less function – you’re not able to push as fast, that type of thing. If you’re in the higher range, say a 3.5, you’ve got a lot of function: you’re physically able to push really fast, make big hits, that type of stuff. That’s the beauty of our game – it allows people who have very little function to be able to play. As a two-pointer, I’m pretty much right in the middle. My role is to carry the ball if need be, to score, to play on defence. An all-rounder-type role.”
HIT AND MISS
“Like any stoppage in play in any sport, you’re not allowed to make direct contact with anyone after the whistle. Obviously you might run into someone by accident, but as soon as that whistle goes … Apart from that, essentially it’s full-contact; you can pretty much take a full-court run-up and smash anyone you want. Obviously there’s a few rules involved around that. The way the chairs work, you can’t hit someone really hard from behind because a player can spill out. Obviously the contact has to be chair to chair; you can’t be going around swinging elbows or fists at people.”