Team Canada - 2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England

Canadian Rugby Teams are Prepared to Battle it out on the Pitch

Men’s Rugby 7s has been played at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur 1998, with a women’s event played for the first time at Gold Coast 2018. It is a core sport on the programme, meaning that it will be played at all future Games.

Team Canada is proud to announce 26 strong athletes that will make up the men’s and women’s rugby 7s teams for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. See Team Canada 2022 media guide for complete bios.

On the women’s team, Breanne Nicholas and Bianca Farella, are returning to the Commonwealth Games after competing for Team Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The men’s team will bring fresh energy as every player on the roster will be making their Commonwealth Games debut.

In 2018 Canada’s women’s team progressed to the bronze medal match but fell short of bringing home a medal. This year the team has their eyes fixed on the podium.

“Our goal coming into this tournament is to finish on the podium and showcase all of the hard work we’ve put in this past season,” said Olivia Apps (Lindsay, ON).

Apps made her Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where she played in three games for Canada. Her previous international competition experience primes Apps to take on her leadership role as co-captain of the women’s team.  

The team has built a strong bond and intends to use this to their advantage on the pitch.

“This team has gone through a lot of growth and ups and downs this year and it’s really nice to see how we have come together,” said Apps. “It’s so special to see the connections we build off the field come out in our playing. I am so proud of this group and I can’t wait to take the field this weekend!”

Alongside Apps, Breanne Nicholas (Blenheim, ON), will lead the team as co-captain. Nicholas also competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where she scored one conversion in five matches during her Olympic debut.

Young talent, Piper Logan (Calgary, AB), is both excited and nervous to make her international competition debut.

“I am incredibly honoured to be competing in Birmingham this weekend,” said Logan.

“This opportunity is special for so many reasons as it’s my first ever international call up and my first major games experience.”

Logan also touched on how her teammates have eased the transition and prepare her to perform her best:

“This  group has made it feel so much easier than anticipated and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play alongside them.”

The men’s roster includes Cooper Coats (Halifax, NS), Brock Webster (Uxbridge, ON), and Matthew Oworu (Calgary, AB), three athletes who all started in Canada’s Men’s 15s international test match against Spain in July.

The team will be captained by veteran player, Phil Berna. In the shortened 2019-20 Sevens Series, Berna equaled his eight tries from the year before in just 25 games. These efforts helped Canada get back into the top-eight in the overall standings. Berna made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, scoring one try in six games as Canada made it to the quarterfinals.

Berna co-hosts the Snake and Goose podcast with teammate, Jake Thiel. Thiel was also a member of the Canadian team that finished 8th at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Thiel reflected on the magnitude of the Commonwealth Games and how special it is to be an athlete with the opportunity to compete.

“It’s an honour every time you get to represent your country but something about doing it at a multi-sport event, like the Commonwealth Games, makes it even more special,” said Thiel. “Being surrounded by so many amazing athletes makes it mean that much more and you can really feel the power of being around not only other amazing Canadian representatives but by all the other countries as well.”

The rugby events at the 2022 Commonwealth Games begin Friday July 29th at Coventry Stadium. Both the men’s and women’s teams will play on Friday, July 29th with the medal matches taking place on Sunday, July 31st.

CBC Sports will feature daily feeds of the sport competitions available on CBC Gemcbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. Check out https://www.cbc.ca/sports/commonwealthgames for details.