Great Britain rugby sevens star and Welsh native, Jasmine Joyce, has been chasing her dream of competing at a third Olympics. Despite this, she says that she is far from ready to stop playing union.
A Difficult Choice for the Athlete
Joyce made a difficult decision when shelving her union career to pursue an opportunity to represent Great Britain on the international stage in sevens. She left Wales’ professional 15-a-side programme after last year’s Rugby World Cup and missed the 2023 Women’s Six Nations.
“My next goal is to compete in an Olympic Games and to do that I had to sacrifice playing with Wales and come up here and take a full-time contract [with the sevens].”
Joyce represented GB at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 where they fell short in both instances, finishing fourth place twice. Her hope for success in Paris 2024 still burns brightly as she continues her quest for an Olympic medal.
Sevens Suits My Style Better Than Fifteens
Although Joyce misses playing fifteens rugby due mainly because friends and family can watch her play throughout Wales, England or Ireland; Dubai, Cape Town or Australia are just too far away from home base. Nonetheless, Joyce believes seven suits her style more than fifteen: “Seven suits me… I can perform better on a sevens pitch than a fifteens pitch,” she told.
Continued Interest in Fifteen-A-Side Rugby
In her absence, Wales rose to their highest-ever world ranking of sixth having won three Six Nations games for the first time since 2009. Joyce made her long-awaited Wales debut in the 2017 Six Nations against Scotland and has earned 31 caps to date. She is interested in going back and playing with them again, but she doesn’t know if that’s something coaches are considering.
“100% I’ve not hung my 15s boots for Wales up yet.”
Olympic Qualification Still on Her Mind
If GB women win gold at the European Games taking place in Krakow next month, they will qualify for next year’s Olympics in Paris. Joyce knows this is their final straw and they have prepared all year for this event:
“We’ve had an opportunity to compete as Great Britain on the world circuit which has never been done prior to an Olympic Games before.”
GB women finished seventh in the recently concluded World Sevens Series, one place below Ireland who will likely be their stiffest competition at Krakow.
“Some of these teams are unknown – we don’t play them week-in-week-out; different teams like Italy and Belgium… All we can do is best prepare ourselves and be as ready as we can be…”
The Final Word: Not Ready To Give Up On The Union Game Yet
Jasmine Joyce may have shelved her union career temporarily but remains focused on achieving Olympic success while maintaining an interest in fifteen-a-side rugby where it all began. For now, however, it’s all about the European Games in Krakow and a chance to qualify for Paris 2024.