When did you start playing?
I played at Solihull School and at my local club, Old Silhillians, until I was about ten.
You grew up in England, so what made you want to play for Ireland?
All my grandparents are Irish and I come from a very Irish background, so I’m an Irishman at heart. I played for England U16 because there’s not an Irish team at that level, but then I played for Irish Exiles, Youths, U18, U19 and U20.
Where do you play now?
I’m in Ulster rugby’s academy. I was picked up by the province after playing for Ireland U18.
Which is your preferred back-row position?
I like to play No 6 but I can move if needs be. I played No 8 in the Junior World Cup games against New Zealand and Australia, and at school too, but I played No 6 for the Exiles.
Who do you admire?
Stephen Ferris is an idol of mine, and I also look up to Jamie Heaslip.
How was your first season with the U20s?
The Six Nations was a major step up in terms of physicality and speed. The collisions are much harder than schoolboy rugby. I played with a lot of the guys for the U19s and we’re a close bunch.
You captained your school team and the U19s. Did you enjoy the role?
Yes, it’s something I’d like to do again in the future. I’m vocal on the field and in the changing room and in team meetings, but I also try to lead by example.
RW verdict: Joyce may be in Ferris’s shadow now, but he’s learning from one of the great Irish back-rowers.
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