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.
FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HERE
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.