Team-mate you’d like to be
UGBY HAS long been a question of balance for Jasmine Joyce. Whether it’s size and pace, sevens and 15s or work and rugby, the 23-year-old has to ensure the scales don’t tip too far in one direction.
Take her time at Cardiff Metropolitan University, where she studied sport and PE. Juggling the course with her rugby commitments led to the wing doing an unusual dissertation. “I studied myself – how I managed uni and rugby,” she says.
“I did a diary when I was in Dubai for the sevens and had to get my lit review in too. The diary shows all my emotions.
“It is tough, really tough, to balance things. It can be really difficult to switch off with training and fitness and rugby.”
After a summer spent taking tourists coasteering (a mix of rock-climbing and swimming) around Abereiddy on Wales’ western coast, she is now working at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport as a fitness trainer. The active element of the job helps with her rugby, but the evening and weekend shifts don’t always fit easily around training or matches. There’s that element of balance again.
It’s the same in terms of sevens and 15s. Joyce was the only non-English player in the Team GB sevens squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics and she made her Test debut for Wales in the following year’s Six Nations. Since then she’s chopped and changed between the two formats of the game, helping Wales to seventh-place finishes at both the 15-a-side World Cup last year and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“To go back and forth is hard but I want to do both. Some people don’t realise they are completely different games in terms of distribution, fitness and speed. I lose a lot of weight in sevens and then in 15s put it back on.”
The size angle is interesting. There is no point bulking up if it slows you down,
RRachel Taylor – she’s just perfect in every way. She’s such a good captain, a good player and everyone likes her.
She’s respected especially when pace is a defining characteristic of your game. Joyce is slight in frame – 5ft 4in and around 9st – but is also incredibly fast. Much like one of her heroes, Shane Williams, she uses the fact that people told her she didn’t have the physique to play rugby as motivation.
“I know Shane was told he was too small to play and I’ve grown up with people saying I’m too small and had no chance of making it in rugby, so there’s that need to prove people wrong,” says Joyce, who first played aged seven. “I want to be successful in rugby.”
She’s doing a more than decent job of proving those doubters wrong and will have another opportunity to do so on the international stage in the coming weeks. There is no November fixture at the Principality Stadium, where the women took on Italy before the men’s game in last season’s Six Nations in an experience Joyce describes as “awesome”, but Wales do have three autumn Tests. They will all be played at Cardiff Arms Park – South Africa on Saturday 10 November (11.30am), Hong
Name Jasmine Joyce Age 23 (9 Oct 1995) Born Haverfordwest Nickname Jaz Instagram handle @jasminejoycee Favourite filmIt is so good TV show orLast book read I wanted to readand I did ten pages, but I lost concentrationI like to cook… Chicken fajitas Rugby highlight The Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Cup… there are so many Rugby lowlight I’ve not had any. There’s losing, but you’re going to lose. It’s been really positive
QUICK- FIRE PROFILE