Ireland U20 captain Paul Boyle has swapped Leinster for Connacht in the summer of 2017


Date of birth 14 January 1997 Position Back-row Province Connacht

How long have you played rugby?

I began aged seven at Gorey in Wexford. My dad took me and my brother along. We’re a sports-mad family.

What other sports did you play?

Soccer until 14, and hurling and Gaelic Football until about 18. So why rugby? Probably because I was best at it! It suited me best. I liked the physical aspect of it too.

What positions have you played?

I played prop for a couple of years in my larger days! But I’ve played the majority of my rugby in the back row. I like the freedom there.

Who were your childhood rugby heroes?

The main one is Sean O’Brien. He comes from a country background and didn’t go to one of the big schools. He’s relatable as that’s what I’ve done myself.


When did you think rugby could be a career?

It wasn’t until I got to Leinster and Ireland U18 that I started thinking about it. Then I thought I could give this a go.

What are your goals for the next year?

To get Pro12 game time (for Connacht, having switched from Leinster) and to improve as a player.

What are your strengths?

Being a leader first of all. Rugby-wise, I pride myself on defence and like to make a few carries too. I love doing it all.

What do you do away from rugby?

I’m studying law. It’s tough to balance but I’m enjoying it.

RW Verdict: In the Team of the Tournament for the U20 Six Nations, Boyle captained Ireland to a disappointing ninth spot at the Junior World Cup. Yet his honest summations mark him out as a strong leader.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Rugby World.