By Gary Anderson

November 24 - Paralympic champions Australia claimed their sixth Asia Oceania crown by defeating Japan in the final © Getty Images Reigning Paralympic champions Australia overcame Japan and a bout if sickness that afflicted their squad to add the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) Asia Oceania Championship crown to their London 2012 success.

The Australians came into the final in Pretoria on the back of a bout of food poisoning which saw them having to forfeit a match earlier in the tournament during the round-robin stage.

Despite this, the Steelers regrouped to claim back-to-back wins against final opponents Japan, with Jayden Warn and Chris Bond impressing, and hosts South Africa to book their place in today's decider, looking particularly impressive in their 56-27 win over the South Africans.

Japan sealed their place in the final after a winner-takes-all clash against New Zealand which saw Daisuke Ikesaki starring for the Japanese with four goals in quick succession late-on seeing his side emerge 55-48 winners.

If the Japanese had any thoughts of capitalising on Australia's stricken squad in the final, they were soon banished as the Steelers lived up to their name and battled through the gold medal match to claim a hard-fought and deserved 55-48 win and take their sixth Asia Oceania title.

Chris Bond and his teammates overcame a bout of food poisoning in Pretoria to take the Asia Oceania Championship title © AFP / Getty ImagesChris Bond and his teammates overcame a bout of food poisoning in Pretoria to take the Asia Oceania Championship title ©AFP/Getty Images

Despite their success in London last year, the Australians have had an indifferent year in 2013 losing out to the United States in the final of the Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in Odense back in June before losing out to James Gumbert's side again in the final of September's Tri-Nations tournament in Sydney.

However, today's victory in the LC de Villiers Sports Complex at the University of Pretoria ends the year on a high for the Australians and also sees them secure an automatic qualification spot for next year's World Championships which will see them return to Odense.

New Zealand, who also took part in Sydney, dashed any hopes the home crowd had of seeing South Africa claim a medal after they cruised to a 65-33 victory in the bronze medal match.

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