Sydney University’s representatives at the 2015 World Water Polo Championships, being played at Kazan, Russia, came away with wins in the opening round of matches.

Hannah Buckling and Keesja Gofers both played in the Aussie Stingers’ 8-7 win over Greece on the opening day of the women’s championships.

And Johnno Cotterill scored one of the Aussie Sharks goals in their 10-4 win over Japan in the men’s championships.

The Stingers snatched victory in the final minute of the game against Greece. Both teams fronted up with tough defence and battled to convert goals in crucial moments.

Nicola Zagame proved the difference, using her speed to make the most of a counter-attacking opportunity to score the match winner for Australia.

While the Stingers recovered from a two-goal deficit early in the second half to win the game, coach Greg McFadden said that despite the grit shown by the team, there was improvement needed. “We won ugly today,” McFadden said.

“I expected nerves in the first quarter and I thought we were going well, then we just lost our way in the second term and allowed Greece to get two penalties.

“They ended up with five for the game. It just shows where we need to improve our defence. We also need to back ourselves in attack. We had moments when our players were on for shots, but didn’t take them. Our offence was a bit stale, which put our shooting under pressure.”

Meanwhile, the Australian men put up a solid performance to down Japan by six goals. In a group that also features Serbia and Montenegro, it was a must win for the Sharks if they want to advance in the championships.

And after a 0-2 start to the game, Japan was put aside in the second half in which Australia simply proved too strong, with their solid defence causing trouble throughout the match.

The Sharks will now play Montenegro in the first of two tough group matches.