Wales’ best women’s rugby player Jasmine Joyce is set to return to amateur status at the end of the year when Team GB Sevens ends.
Wales and Bristol Bears winger Joyce is one of the brightest talents across the Sevens and 15s game, and left viewers in awe with her jaw-droppingly fast try-saving tackle against the USA at Canada Sevens just a few days ago.
No stranger to global highlights reels, the winger and double Olympian has been on the World Series circuit after narrowly missing out on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics with Team GB, who lost to Fiji in their bronze-medal match.
But 25-year-old Joyce has revealed she will be returning to amateur status at the end of 2021 when she will once again balance full-time work with rugby.
Read more: WRU confess errors but promise reform for Wales Women amid fierce criticism
National Lottery stepped up with £2m of funding to take Team GB to the Olympics – providing an equal pay structure – and the best of Britain are now looking ahead to end their 2021 World Series in December, after which Team GB will disband and its core group of English players will transfer to the RFU’s new programme.
As the Welsh Rugby Union does not offer its women players paid contracts, it means Joyce will be returning to funding her rugby by working full-time alongside playing the sport she loves.
Addressing her player of the final award, Joyce – a former personal trainer and qualified teacher – said: “I wish I could have the opportunity to win more of these on the World Sevens Circuit.
“I love being part of Great Britain and being involved with world-class players but also playing against the top teams in the world.
“These dreams aren’t going to last forever as Great Britain will no longer be on the circuit post the Dubai legs in December, and this will go back to being England
” I will enjoy going back to play for Wales but unfortunately I will no longer be a full-time rugby player and will be balancing both a full-time job and playing rugby, which I am not ready to go back to quite yet.”
The Telegraph reports that Team GB’s Sevens salaries were based on a sliding scale of £25,000-£40,000 for both men and women depending on experience, and the men’s higher salary bracket was ditched.
Wales’ men’s Sevens team was scrapped in August 2020 for the foreseeable future after bosses deemed it unsustainable amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Wales Women Sevens were last in action in June 2021 in the Rugby Europe 7s Championship in Lisbon. The competition marked the first chance of competitive rugby for many of the team’s players for two years.
England’s Rugby Football Union, meanwhile, is reinstating its full-time Sevens programme for the start of the 2022 World Series, after initially driving calls for a partnership with Scotland and Wales in early 2019 for a permanent GB outfit.
The English programme was later ripped up in August 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
RFU director of performance Conor O’Shea told the Telegraph that the RFU is open to reforming a Team GB programme at a later date, while – as it stands – England would have to qualify on behalf of Team GB for the 2024 Paris Olympics.