The 2018 Canada Cup tips-off this evening with all six teams in action. Here’s our preview of what promises to be an exciting opening day.
Game #1 Canada vs Sweden
The hosts open the competition against 6th ranked Sweden at 5pm. These two teams have played a number of close games over the past few years and both sides include a mix of new and returning players.
5 Canadian players will be making their Canada Cup debut this year, as well as head coach Patrick Côté who took over the Canadian program last year and guided the team to a silver medal at the 2017 IWRF Americas Zonal Championship in Paraguay.
Sweden has finished on the podium an incredible seven consecutive European Championships and won a silver at the 2017 edition in Germany.
Local fans will want to keep an eye out for Vancouver's Trevor Hirschfield. The Canadian co-captain was named the best class 1.0 at the past two Canada Cups and has a habit of coming up with key plays in big moments for Canada.
Spectators should also look out for Tobias Sandberg. The Swedish 3.5 was the MVP of the 2017 European Championship and has the ability to control the tempo of matches and has pinpoint passing skills.
Game #2 Australia vs Japan
Zonal rivals Australia and Japan will face off at 7pm on Court 1. These two teams see a lot of each other and often play similar styles. Both sides bring experienced squads to the Canada Cup and boast two of the world’s strongest hi-lo lineups.
The battle between Australian 3.5 Ryley Batt and Japanese 3.0 Daisuke Ikezaki is an individual match-up that should thrill fans.
The world #1 Australian Steelers have won all of the team’s prior meetings at the Canada Cup and came out on top at the 2017 Asia/Oceania Zonal Championship, but the last meeting between the two sides was very close with Australia winning 52-51 at the King Power Quad Nations in Great Britain.
Fans may recognize a familiar voice on the sidelines as former Team Canada coach Kevin Orr is now in charge of the 4th ranked Japanese team.
Game #3 USA vs Denmark
Over on Court 2, The 2nd-ranked USA Eagles will open their Canada Cup title defence against 9th-ranked Denmark, who are making their 2nd Canada Cup appearance.
2016 Canada Cup MVP Chuck Aoki is one of a handful of returning players for the Americans and should attract plenty of attention from the opposing defense.
Denmark has been a team on the rise in recent years and the team includes one of the world’s most promising young players in 3.5 Sebastien Fredriksen who should rack up plenty of tries over the course of the tournament.
There should be an interesting contrast in styles between the two teams as Denmark can run a few hi-lo lineups against what should be a very balanced American team as they have only one true hi-point player on their roster.
These two teams last met at the 2016 Paralympic Qualification Tournament where the Americans went undefeated and beat the Danes twice. Tonight's game will be the first time they've met at the Canada Cup.
Tickets to the 2018 Canada Cup are still on sale and for those who can’t make it to the Oval, head over to www.Sportscanada.tv/wheelchairrugby to watch every match with full play-by-play and colour commentary in English.