Jasmine Joyce Chronicle: The Returning Children, The Old Enemy, and Westlife’s Demands

Location: Kingholm, Gloucester Dated: saturday april 9 To start up: 4:45 p.m. GMT
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In her latest BBC Sport column, Olympic Sevens star and Welsh winger Jasmine Joyce talks about quitting it late against Scotland, in the face of old foe and Westlife song requests.

Cunningham’s Returning Children

Two difficult matches, two victories in bonus points, we could not have dreamed of a better start to this Six Nations.

A lot of us didn’t know we got the bonus point over Scotland, we were so relieved to come back and win the game.

Siwan [Lillicrap, the Wales captain] told us afterwards “we can’t keep leaving him late”, so this weekend against England, we will shoot from the start.

Our performances have been far from perfect, but what makes us happy is that we go there, not giving our best – individually or collectively – but still winning victories.

We never used to do that. In the autumn internationals we were the team to lose in the second half, we were the team to lose to death, so it’s thanks to the players and the coaches that we are now able to finish the games .

There are areas we can work on. For me personally and from a full-back perspective, we ideally want a lot more ball in hand and in space so we don’t hit brick walls.

We have a really threatening back line and we want to use it.

Supersubs and selection puzzles

Ian [Cunningham, the Wales coach] going to have tough decisions to choose the starting XV this week given the impact the bench has had in the first two games.

As a bench player you want to come in and make an impact and they certainly did, so thanks to them. Virtually all of their trials have been game-changing.

England are the best team in the world right now and we know they are going to fight.

We want to go out and win of course, but Ioan is not putting any pressure on us. We have to remember that we’ve only been pros for three or four months, these girls have been pros for years.

We’re expected to lose, we’re the underdogs, but sometimes that’s the best place to be.

We just want to give the best of ourselves, to know and lead our roles individually.

Silent Rivalries

Wales vs England is always a great battle and you get players who really stand out in games like this.

We play the English girls week after week in the Premier 15s. It’s going to be really hard to face them, but I can’t wait to see what we can bring.

There are over 11,000 tickets sold at Kingsholm, so what an occasion. As gamers, we always want to play on a big stage and what bigger stage do you want than this?

It will be a great occasion not only for women’s rugby, but for women’s sport in general.

I was actually sitting in the stands at St Helen’s when Wales last beat England in 2015. I think it was Elinor Snowsill who kicked Laurie Harries for the winning try, it was amazing.

We certainly take inspiration from it.

Kayleigh Powell, Jasmine Joyce, Lisa Neumann
The Wales backline, including Kayleigh Powell, Jasmine Joyce and Lisa Neumann, have impressed this campaign

What we have at camp right now is belief. The coaches allow us to go out there and believe that we can perform, that we can win. We haven’t had this for a long time.

England have a massive pack and threatening backs, but so do we.

We’ve won plenty of penalties in the scrum and stolen the ball from the lineout, and when our back line shoots we can do some damage.

There are players like Sarah Bern that I play with in Bristol, she’s someone I don’t want to run into or chase, she’s probably one of the best props in the world.

I was watching her run in a 50m trial against Italy, she has amazing gas. It is actually not acceptable for a prop to spin at this speed! I think she’s a former center, but still.

We are close to the girls of Bristol, but at this game everything calms down, WhatsApp groups go silent.

We respect each other as we play for Wales and they play for England. We won’t talk to them during the preparation because you don’t want to give anything away, but I’m sure there will be a lot on the pitch, a lot of joking, a lot of messing around and probably a few fights.

But after the game, we are friends again, as rugby should be.

Sarah Bern Jaz Joyce
Jasmine Joyce is ignored by England prop Sarah Bern during their 2019 Six Nations meeting

DJ battles

There will be 11,000 fans in Gloucester so Ioan brought a DJ to practice this week I guess to replicate the noise. It hit how loud it will actually be.

Obviously, three internationals in a row is tough, so there are energy dips, but coming to camp on a Monday and having a DJ there is exactly the kind of pick-up we need.

My requests would be something like Cascada or Basehunter, but I think it was Keira [Bevan] who asked something like Westlife, the DJ said, “I don’t think I’ve played that before”.

Keira was in charge of music until Sisilia [Tuipulotu] came on the scene. Keira was doing well, but it was more of a sing-along song that I love, but I don’t think some of the other players liked it. Sisilia plays music like you’ve never heard before, I don’t even know where she got that from, but it’s great.

We have a weekend off after this game, which some of us are looking forward to.

I think the last weekend I had was when I had Covid in January. I will be returning to St Davids, my mum is already talking about doing a roast and her cooking is 10 out of 10.

It’s exactly what you need, to be cooked and cared for. I can’t wait, but we have to take care of England’s little business first.

Jasmine Joyce was talking to BBC Sport Wales’ Ceri Coleman-Phillips.

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