By Gary Anderson

September 20 - The USA and Australia battled it out under lights outdoors in Sydney during the Tri-Nations finalThe United States came out on top against Paralympic champions Australia in a close final of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) Tri-Nations tournament in Sydney.

The tournament represented the first time an international wheelchair rugby event took place outdoors, under lights and on a purpose-built court as a crowd of 2,000 packed into the stands under the shadow of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney to watch the London 2012 gold and bronze medallists battle it out.

Australia came into the final after seeing off neighbours New Zealand in the semi-final playoff while the US went straight into the decider, following the round-robin series.

Despite a fantastic haul of 40 goals in the final for Australia's Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament Ryley Batt, it was the Beijing 2008 gold medallists who eventually emerged 58-54 winners to take the Tri-Nations crown.

A disappointed Australian coach Brad Dubberley put the defeat down to a number of unforced errors by his side.

"The US deserved the win and it was our own unforced errors that cost us the game," he said.

"Our starting line-up played the whole game but I don't think fatigue was a factor.

"We just had a few mishaps with our communication when we had the ball and that cost us.

"The US played a terrific tournament here.

"We weren't sure how they would handle playing here in a stadium like this, but they did their homework and played better when it mattered most."

Despite 40 goals in the final Australia's Ryley Batt (left) had to make do with the runners-up spot in SydneyDespite 40 goals in the final Australia's Ryley Batt (left) had to make do with the runners-up spot in Sydney

Chuck Aoki and Joe Delagrave were the main men for the US bagging 26 and 21 goals respectively in the final and their coach James Gumbert said that he and the players had learned from their defeat earlier in the tournament to the Americans.

"We are very, very happy," Gumbert said.

"Having lost to Australia in our last game, it forced us to look inside ourselves and dig deep.

"A bunch of young kids grew up tonight.

"I'm so proud of them.

"Earlier in the tournament, we tried a couple of things that we had never tried against the Aussies, and things didn't happen the way we wanted them to.

"But we went back, watched all the games again and worked out where we thought we were going wrong.

"We picked things apart and came back with a better plan.

"It was very satisfying."

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