Uni 7s: Welsh flyer sings praises of "international standard" competition

Uni 7s
by Emma Greenwood

She'll be cheering against the Aussies on Sunday afternoon, but for now at least, Jasmine Joyce is singing the praises of Australian rugby and its part in helping her prepare to become a two-time Olympian.

The only non-English member of Team GB's sevens squad at the Rio Games, Welsh flyer Joyce hopes to head to her second Games in Tokyo next year and is using the Aon Uni 7s as the base for her preparations.

Joyce and Welsh teammates Hannah Jones and Alisha Butchers headed to Adelaide to link with the Romas ahead of season two of the Aon Uni 7s in what Joyce is already describing as the "best decision we've made in our rugby careers".

"I've come over here with two of the other Welsh girls to get the competition and play with the best players in the world, especially with some of the Aussie girls coming over (and playing Uni 7s)," Joyce said.

Jasmine Joyce in action for Wales against Australia at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Photo: Getty Images

"Some of the English girls came over last year and it was all over social media and all I hear is great things and people who come through this set-up are great.

"We had nothing going on with Wales at the moment back at home, so we just thought, let's give it a go and it's been the best decision we've made, probably for all three of us, in our rugby careers.

"The standard here is just a different level. This is a club level and our international level isn't as good as this.

"So to come over here and play with the best girls in the world and play against and with some of them is a great experience and will hopefully just better my rugby."

It's not just a one-way street though.

 

Adelaide is getting plenty from Joyce, who scored nine tries for the Romas in the opening Uni 7s round at the University of Queensland a fortnight ago.

"My tries come from my teammates setting me up, all I do most of the time is run past someone on the wing and put the ball down, so it's good work from my teammates," a modest Joyce said after helping Adelaide to fifth place in round one.

She'll be in action again this weekend at Bond University as the Romas attempt to push into the medal rounds on the Gold Coast.

While the Romas have lost Vani Pelite to Australian team duties, they bring a strong line-up to the Gold Coast, including Wallaroos players Mahalia Murphy and Eva Karpani, Joyce and Jones, who will play her first Uni 7s tournament at Bond as she replaces Butchers under the Romas' international rotation.

The standard of the competition is mind-boggling for Joyce, who says it has helped her become the strongest and fastest she has been in her career and will help launch her bid for a second Olympics.

 

"Training fulltime pretty much in Australia is something I've never got to do before and to do it with girls like these is awesome and I'm putting myself in the best position I can to try and make that Tokyo team," she said.

"I'm probably the fittest and fastest I've been, so I'm putting myself in the best position possible."

Round two of the Aon Uni 7s kicks off at Bond University on the Gold Coast on Saturday, September 28, with finals on Sunday, September 29.

All games on both days will be streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.