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.
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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.
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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.