The Wheel Blacks are taking plenty of positives from their opening match at the Paralympics, despite a heavy loss to the USA.
New Zealand’s wheelchair rugby team went down to the American powerhouse 63-35 despite an impressive 23-try effort by Barney Koneferenisi – the top scorer in the match.
Koneferenisi praised his teammates for the stat line.
“In order for me to score the tries the teammates got to set it up, so it's not an individual thing,” he said.
“If I didn't have good screens, good teammates, then all these other avenues wouldn't have opened up.”
It was the Wheel Blacks’ first appearance at the Paralympics since 2008, having missed both the London and Rio Games previously.
As such, the match was special for many involved, regardless of the scoreline.
“As soon as the national anthem came on, switched on. We did the haka, everything else switched on,” Koneferenisi said.
“We went on the court, the number one mission was no matter what the score was go out do your job, if you've done that we're happy.”
The Wheel Blacks play Great Britain on Thursday at 11pm NZT.