By Gary Anderson

November 14 - USA Wheelchair Rugby is set to benefit from a new partnership with USA Rugby © Getty Images USA Wheelchair Rugby and USA Rugby have announced a new partnership agreement to increase awareness and support of wheelchair rugby in the country at the end of a year which has seen the Paralympic side dominate the international stage.

As part of the new collaboration, USA Rugby will help to raise awareness for the sport of wheelchair rugby through the development of a new website and the support of various digital platforms.

It is hoped that these initiatives will help to fuel sponsorship, fundraising and overall investment in the sport.

"We are delighted to partner with our Paralympic sport in supporting the growth of rugby in the United States," said Nigel Melville, USA Rugby chief executive and President of rugby operations.

"Together, both organisations will work to take the podium in their respective versions of the sport."

The US national rugby side, known as the Eagles, are preparing for a two-legged play-off against Uruguay in March to determine qualification for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and are the reigning rugby Olympic champions after winning gold at Antwerp 1920 and Paris 1924.

"We have discussed the possibility of working together for years and to see it come true is a big step for us," said USA Wheelchair Rugby head coach James Gumbert.

"A partnership with USA Rugby will certainly have an immediate impact on the sport."

Gumbert's side have been a dominant force this year on the courts, taking three international titles.

James Gumbert and his USA Wheelchair Rugby side have had an impressive year in 2013 and the partnership with USA Rygby will have a big impact on the sport © Getty Images James Gumbert and his USA Wheelchair Rugby side have had an impressive year in 2013 and the partnership with USA Rugby will have a big impact on the sport ©Getty Images

In June the US side defeated London 2012 champions Australia in the final of the Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in Odense.

That success continued in the Paralympic champions own backyard as Gumbert and his charges emerged victorious in the Tri-Nations tournament in Sydney which also saw New Zealand competing.

A very successful year was rounded off last month as the US secured their third consecutive America's Championship crown in Birmingham, Alabama, overcoming old rivals and 2012 Paralympic Games'silver medallists Canada in the final.

The Canadians had surprisingly knocked out the three-time Paralympic champions at the semi-final stage in London.

"This partnership is exciting for many reasons, including the opportunity it creates to increase public awareness and positively impact fundraising for both sports," said Jeff Underwood, President of Lakeshore Foundation, the home of USA Wheelchair Rugby.

Lakeshore, which is based in Alabama, has managed the US Paralympic rugby programme on behalf of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for a number of years.

"From our perspective, this partnership is a great step in growing this exciting sport, and that helps our organisation achieve the very important goal of furthering the Paralympic movement," added Underwood.

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