The Riverside Girls’ Rugby Academy in Macassar is celebrating its star player Logan Welmann, who was named the DHL Western Province Schools’ Player of the Year.
The 17-year-old is currently in Grade 11 at Macassar High School and no stranger to accolades. In 2018 she was named player of the tournament at a national competition and last year was named WP under-18 player of the year.
“It feels unreal, but at the same time I’ve worked hard to achieve my goals,” she said. “I just really enjoy the game, and when I’m on the field I give it my all.”
The academy was originally founded as a branch of Macassar Rugby Club, but soon after was rebranded as Riverside Girls’ Academy to draw players from across the Helderberg.
According to Godfrey Afrika, one of the founders of the academy, it has completed a very successful season in the first division of women’s rugby, ending third on the log, thanks largely to Welmann’s contribution.
“Logan started playing rugby as an eight-year-old, but her options were limited in terms of girls’ rugby, so she played with boys through the age groups until under-13, after which other opportunities became available in school and later through the academy,” he said.
“Her development as a youngster shows; through her playing experience from a young age she is a well-rounded player, very fit and strong, which helps her excel. It’s her determination in the sport that has made her an outstanding player; she plays at number 8, can cover the backline and easily adapt to any position where she’s needed.”
The academy team got off to a slow start when they lost two successive games, but bounced back strongly to win every game that followed.
Said Afrika: “The team has come so far and we’ve developed so much, in the process producing four WP players in the under-16 division and two WP players in the under-18 division, and three players have made the senior WP team. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved. We welcome more women and girls to join our club and take advantage of the opportunities opening for females in rugby. You can make a career from this sport and travel locally as well as internationally.”
For Welmann, this is only the beginning and she has dreams to make it on the biggest stage of them all.“If you have a talent, you have to work hard to nurture it,” she said. “My advice to other girls wanting to play rugby is to just go for it; don’t be deterred by the challenges and don’t be shy to reach your potential.”
V Anyone wishing to join the club or assist with sponsorships can phone 065 360 5545 or 076 621 4276.