Calgary's Piper Logan gets chance to shine on Rugby World Cup Sevens stage

·4 min read

Piper Logan, who turned heads at the Commonwealth Games in July in her rugby sevens international debut, will get another chance to shine on the world stage next week.

The 21-year-old from Calgary, named to World Rugby's Women's Dream Team after Canada's fourth-place finish at the eight-country Commonwealth competition in Birmingham, England, is on the Canadian roster for the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which run Sept. 9-11 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Logan, who plays for the UBC Thunderbirds, impressed at a "next generation" tournament held in tandem with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series stop April 30-May 1 in Langford, B.C. She and several other prospects were then invited to train with the senior women's side.

"Originally it was to just bring her in to see if she enjoys the environment and see if she's a long-term prospect," said Canada coach Jack Hanratty. "And very quickly, as a group of coaches, we realized this is a now talent that we have. And it's been just brilliant to have a fresh athlete who 's so young but has obviously developed so many great skills in our pathway, through province, through club and through university."

Hanratty's 13-woman roster features eight players aged 23 or younger, including 19-year-olds Krissy Scurfield and Chloe Daniels. Julia Greenshields is unavailable through injury while fellow veteran Charity Williams is still getting back to match fitness after an injury layoff.

Breanne Nicholas, 28, and Olivia Apps, 23, serve as co-captains.

The veteran of the team is 30-year-old Bianca Farella, who stands second on the World Series all-time women's try-scoring list with 157.

The women's competition in Cape Town kicks off with round-of-16 knockout matches. The fifth-seeded Canadians open against No. 12 China with the winner moving on to face either the fourth-ranked U.S. or No. 13 Poland.

One loss and you're out of championship contention.

The Canadian men's team for Cape Town features one change from the roster that went winless at last weekend’s L.A. Sevens. Cooper Coats, who was injured in the World Series finale in California, is replaced by Matthew Oworu, who has recovered from the minor injury that kept him out of the L.A. event.

Veteran Phil Berna captains the Canadian men.

The 24-country men's field in Cape Town sees 10th-seeded Canada open against No. 23 Zimbabwe with the winner facing No. 7 France in the round of 16.

The Canadian women, runner-up to New Zealand at the 2013 World Cup Sevens in Moscow, placed seventh four years ago in San Francisco. A team in transition following a spate of retirements after the Tokyo Olympics, the women finished seventh overall in the six-stop 2022 World Series.

The Canadian men, also rebuilding under coach Henry Paul after post-Olympic departures, finished 14th overall in their nine-event World Series season.

The men's best showing at the Rugby World Cup Sevens was a fifth-place finish in 2001 in Argentina. They were 12th four years ago in San Francisco.

The Canadian men flew to South Africa from Los Angeles. The women were scheduled to leave Friday, with a Victoria-Calgary-Amsterdam-Cape Town itinerary,

South Africa marks the eighth edition of the men's World Cup Sevens and the fourth for the women. Canada has qualified for every one of those.

New Zealand won the last two editions of both the men; s and women's World Cup Sevens.

Canada Rugby World Cup Sevens Rosters

Women

Florence Symonds, Hong Kong, University of British Columbia; Krissy Scurfield, Canmore, Alta., University of Victoria; Pamphinette Buisa, Gatineau, Que., Ottawa Irish; Breanne Nicholas (co-capt.), Blenheim, Ont.; Nakisa Levale, Abbotsford, B.C.; Abbotsford RFC; Emma Chown, Barrie, Ont., Aurora Barbarians/Queen’s University; Chloe Daniels, Sutton, Ont., Aurora Barbarians; Bianca Farella, Montreal, Town of Mount Royal RFC; Olivia Apps, (co-capt.) Lindsay, Ont., Lindsay RFC; Fancy Bermudez, Edmonton, Nor'wester Athletic Association/Westshore RFC; Piper Logan, Calgary, Calgary Hornets/UBC Thunderbirds; Keyara Wardley, Vulcan, Alta.

Travelling Reserve: Olivia De Couvreur, Ottawa, Ottawa Irish.

Men Anton Ngongo, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers; Jake Thiel, Victoria, Abbotsford RFC; Thomas Isherwood, Okotoks, Alta., Foothills Lions RFC; Phil Berna (capt.), Vancouver, Vancouver Rowing Club; Alex Russell, Chichester, England, McGill University; Josiah Morra, Toronto, Castaway Wanderers/Toronto Saracens; Brock Webster, Uxbridge, Ont., Oshawa Vikings RFC; Matthew Oworu, Calgary, Pacific Pride; D'Shawn Bowen, Toronto, Pacific Pride; Lachlan Kratz, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers/NOLA Gold; Elias Ergas, Vancouver, UBC; Ciaran Breen, Victoria, Cowichan RFC.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press