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Sports This Week: Regina's Piper Logan excels at Commonwealth Games

New Zealand would prove Canada’s nemesis at the games, defeating them 45-7 in pool play, and then being the opposition in the bronze medal, again winning, but this time only by a score of 19-12.
logan piper Ian Muir - Rugby Canada
Piper Logan of Regina was named to Canadian women's 7s squad earlier this summer.

YORKTON - It has proven to be quite a summer for Canadian rugby 7s player Piper Logan. 

It started with Logan being named to the Canadian senior team heading to the recent Commonwealth Games. 

“It was actually just before my 21st birthday. It made quite a birthday present. It was a surprise,” said the Calgary-based player in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week. 

Logan said she had only started working out with the team in June and within weeks then interim coach Jack Hanratty had named her to the squad.

“I think Jack liked that I was a hard worker. I really worked hard the first couple of weeks I was there,” offered Logan.

With the hard work paying off, Logan joined a Canadian squad that while in something of a transitional phase after some recent long-time player retirements, was still a team where many players had toiled together for some time.

Logan said while she was “definitely intimidated,” joining such a veteran team, the transition to the national team proved rather a smooth one.

“The team really made it a super easy transition for me. They were super welcoming, super nice,” she said.

What was tougher was adapting to the higher level expected in terms of practice and preparation.

“It was definitely harder mentally and physically. It was a big jump fitting into the team,” she said.

And, with the Commonwealth Games set for Birmingham, England only weeks after being named to the squad Logan had little time to settle into the national program’s regime.

“It was definitely very exciting, but the turnaround was quite quick,” said Logan. “I had to find that confidence really quickly.”

Certainly once in Birmingham the reality of being among the world’s best was quickly apparent with Canada in a pool which included rugby powerhouses England and New Zealand, along with Sri Lanka.

Against New Zealand Logan found herself on the same pitch with her rugby idol Portia Woodman.

“I’ve watched them for years. She’s someone I’ve looked up to on the field,” she said, adding it was a thrill to play against her. “. . . The little girl in me was jumping up and down inside me with joy.”

New Zealand would prove Canada’s nemesis at the games, defeating them 45-7 in pool play, and then being the opposition in the bronze medal, again winning, but this time only by a score of 19-12.

An early yellow card didn’t help Canada’s cause in the bronze medal contest and New Zealand capitalized via a Michaela Blyde try.

When Kelly Brazier drove over the line after a quick tap and go penalty from close range New Zealand had a 12-0 half-time lead.

Alena Saili made it a three score lead for New Zealand in the second half.

It was then Logan who broke through for Canada with the team’s first try of the game.

Emma Chown scored just seconds remaining to make it interesting, but there wasn’t enough time remaining on the clock for Canada to complete their comeback.

“I think we had a little bit of a slow start,” offered Logan, adding the team made a push late, suggesting had that push started even “a minute” sooner they might have earned the bronze medals.

“It was definitely unfortunate,” she said, adding that once back in the ‘sheds’ “. . . we were all still very happy with the finish. Our goal was a medal, but our performance did reflect a lot of growth.”

On a personal level, as a rookie to the program Logan shone, ending up named to the ‘Dream Team’, the top seven players from the games, a team dominated by three gold medal winning Australians and two silver medalist Fijian players.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but what an honour,” said Logan, adding she realized very few are ever selected to such a team, “so this was really special.”

For Logan and the Canadian teams, the Commonwealth Games are also a positive as they prepare for the upcoming 7s World Cup.

The 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens, to be held in South Africa Sept. 9-11, will be the eighth edition of the event organised by World Rugby.

“It’s definitely going to be another huge step,” said Logan adding world 7s powers such as the United States and France are added to the mix at the World Cup. “It’s another step up from the Commonwealth Games which is exciting to me.”

For Logan it has all been a rather rapid progression in a sport she just happened into.

“I actually grew up doing gymnastics for years,” she said, adding she was very focused on it.

But, looking to branch out a bit, Logan said she thought to try track and field, but when she contacted the coach she found him on the rugby field and was invited to try out.

“I sort of fell in love with it from there,” she said.