Jasmine Joyce was one of the stars of the Tokyo Olympics and she cannot wait to pull on the Great Britain jersey again, especially at a venue that holds such fond memories.
Six weeks after scoring seven tries in six appearances in Tokyo, Joyce has been selected in Scott Forrest’s squad for the Fast Four events in Vancouver (18-19 September) and Edmonton (25-26 September).
“I love playing sevens regardless of whether it is for Team GB, Wales or whoever. So to get to go to Canada and Dubai (in November/December) is pretty cool,” she said.
“For me as a Welsh person, I don’t get many opportunities to play the world-class teams because we are not on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and we are at the lower end of Rugby Europe so it is tough going back (from GB to Wales) knowing you’re going to be playing lower-end teams.
“For me and the Scottish girls, it’s about enjoying every second of playing on Team GB again. We don’t know whether or when we’ll get the opportunity to play against these teams again.”
Great Britain will take on hosts Canada, USA and Mexico on back-to-back weekends as recent Olympians are joined by those aspiring to take part at the next Games in Paris in 2024.
It should make for a heady cocktail of talent with spectators able to enjoy a 10-match schedule that promises to be high on drama.
#GB7s | Three Welsh players get @GBRugbySevens call for @CanadaSevens 🇨🇦 Llongyfarchiadau i'r triawd Cymreig: @joyce_jaz, @LukeTreharne a Morgan Williams.— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) September 13, 2021
📰: https://t.co/cbq5PERQiU #Canada7s pic.twitter.com/OQ3Pv8kllm
Giving opponents the slip
Joyce only stands 1.70m tall and weighs 60kgs but her ability to evade tackles through pace and footwork make her one of the biggest drawcards in rugby sevens and 15s.
Not an interview goes by without the Pembrokeshire-born speedster hearing the “slippery as an eel in olive oil” comment from World Rugby Olympics commentator Rob Vickerman repeated back to her.
And if she can reproduce that form, Canadian fans should have plenty to shout about, as they did the last time Joyce visited Vancouver as a Great Britain player.
“I’ve played in Vancouver before but not on the circuit, it was for Team GB at an invitational tournament when we were preparing for Rio and it was insane,” she recalled.
“We had Canada in the final, and the crowd was so loud. They were cheering Canada, obviously, but also just the rugby in general.
“I hadn’t done much with GB before, so stepping out on the pitch in that stadium was class, there was so much noise.”
Reflecting on her performance in Tokyo, the aspiring primary school teacher is typically modest.
“I was chuffed individually but it is a credit to all the girls I played with, it is so nice to play with so many world-class players.”
Sport really is a rollercoaster of emotions. Picture 1, filled with joy and happiness. Picture 2, devastation and complete sadness. All in just 2 days. Going to feel this one for a while, but friends and family will make it easier❤ pic.twitter.com/gdbs8WktGm— JasmineJoyce (@joyce_jaz) August 1, 2021
Joyce thrives on being part of an all-inclusive Great Britain squad and the opportunities that it brings.
“It was more difficult to go into the Rio squad because it was basically just England and a few of us girls joined. This was a totally different culture, you felt it was Team GB and not just England and we weren’t stepping on people’s toes,” she said.
“It was a new setup for the England players as well so we had a different defensive structure, a different attack and different game plans. So we were all learning from the start which was nice.
“The environment and culture the coaches and players created was fantastic. I have never been part of a squad with such genuine self-belief and I think that’s how we got so far. To come away with fourth was fantastic.”
After a long period of inactivity due to COVID-19, Joyce is happy to be busy and not to let the grass grow under her.
“I just want to continue to enjoy the feeling of playing rugby. With the pandemic and everything, we lost rugby for a year,” she said.
“I am loving being part of Great Britain again but I am also enjoying being back with Bristol Bears (Premier 15s team).
“We’ve got new coaches and new players in and I played my first Premier game for them last Saturday.
“Hopefully, I’ll continue to get selected by Wales and want to go to the World Cup in New Zealand then Paris in 2024. Those are my rugby-based dreams for the next couple of years.”
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