Jazz Joyce Insists Wales Can Uproot The Red Roses

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27: Jasmine Joyce of Great Britain runs the ball during the 2024 Perth SVNS women's Cup quarter finals match between Great Britain and Canada at HBF Park on January 27, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Jazz Joyce Insists Wales Can Uproot The Red Roses

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By David Parsons

Jazz Joyce knows Wales will go to Ashton Gate to face England in round two of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations as big underdogs, but claims that’s just the way they like it.

Joyce and co. couldn’t have picked a tougher task than travelling to meet the reigning Grand Slam champions in their own back yard, especially when Wales are still licking their wounds after a first loss in 20 years on Welsh soil against Scotland.

But Joyce claims the whole squad are ready “to go again” in Bristol on Saturday as they seek a first win over England away from home.

“England are on top form at the moment, one of the best, if not the best in the world, so we are going in as the underdogs,” said the Wales wing, who plays her club rugby at Bristol Bears.

“But we love it, we love going in as underdogs. It makes you be braver – we have nothing to lose going out to play against England.

“I really hope we feel like that as a squad going into the game on Saturday. Nothing to lose, play with our hearts and try our best.

“Regardless of who you’re playing, it is always important to come out of the blocks fast to try to get a foothold in the game.

“It will be really important for us to get hold of the first 20-30 minutes and then take it moment by moment from then on.

“The last time I played against England we were 3-0 up in the first 20-30 minutes. So, our performances in the first half against England have been strong – now we need to put in an 80-minute performance.”

With World Cup and WXV qualification on the line in the Six Nations, Wales now face an uphill battle to repeat the heroics of last year when they finished third with three wins.

“We haven’t lost to Scotland in so long, so it was a huge disappointment, especially as we need to come top three to make it into top tier of WXV and with the World Cup qualification coming up,” added Joyce.

“But we put it all out there – we really did try our best and everyone worked so hard for each other. We’re really frustrated with the result.

“The top four or five teams are getting better and better. Italy played very well against England, Ireland again played well against France, so we know every game is going to be hard, regardless of who we play. We just need to keep building.

“Coming off three losses in WXV isn’t great for us. But you just learn so much playing against the top-tier teams.”

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Having taken time out of her GB Sevens contract to play at WXV in New Zealand and now the Six Nations, Joyce will return to the small-sided game after this tournament and focus her efforts on reaching a third successive Olympic Games.

Team GB have already qualified for Paris and Joyce would love to go at least one better than the fourth place finishes she experienced in Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.

“It’s exciting to have qualified for the Olympics. To go to the Games three times, having never thought I’d even go to one, is surreal,” she said.

“But my focus for now is definitely on the Six Nations and once that’s done I’ll look towards Paris, if I’m selected. I’m just excited to be back in the 15-a-side set-up and to be playing for Wales.”

Joyce is in line to win her 37th cap on Saturday.

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