Sapphires ready for title defence

July 20, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

Australia’s bid for back-to-back gold medals at the Under-17 World Cup commences on Sunday with a first-up showdown against Angola.

Having captured gold in Spain two years ago, the Sapphires return to defend their title with JCU Townsville Fire development player Alex Fowler in the forward rotation and assistant coach Mark Wrobel back in the fold.

Wrobel was a part of the Sapphires’ coaching squad that finished the 2016 edition with a perfect 6-0 record.

The Sapphires will meet Angola, Latvia and Canada, who boast former Fire import Tamara Tatham as part of their coaching staff, in the pool stage and can avoid Team USA until the gold medal game should they top their group.

A slip-up in the sectionals, however, more than likely means a quarter-final showdown, which the Sapphires will be desperate to avoid after scrimmaging against them earlier this week.

Every country advances beyond the group stage into the Round of 16 but ladder position is still important and from there, the tournament enters a knockout phase for each game.

All matches will be available via FIBA’s YouTube channel here and stay tuned to Basketball Australia’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for game reminders and tournament updates.

The Australian Sapphires Schedule for the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup (all times AEST):

July 22: Sapphires vs. Angola at 3am
July 23: Sapphires vs. Latvia at 12.45am
July 24: Sapphires vs. Canada at 11pm
July 25: Round of 16
July 27: Quarter-Finals
July 28: Semi-Finals
July 29: Bronze and Gold medal games