Jasmine Joyce: Why Wales' most exciting rugby player will soon have to go back to the day job

One of Wales most exciting rugby talents has said she is "gutted" she will be without a professional contract when her current deal ends in December. 

Jasmine Joyce has earned her reputation as a one-woman highlights reel, stunning opponents and supporters alike with her blistering pace.

In the last week, a clip of her chasing down an opponent for a miraculous try saving cover tackle has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

The 25-year-old is currently contracted to the women's Great Britain 7s team. 

She was one of the stars of the Tokyo Olympics, scoring seven tries for Team GB, and narrowly missed out on a medal.

Jasmine led Great Britain to victory against USA with a hat-trick in the final of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver

On Monday, she led Great Britain to victory against USA with a hat-trick in the final of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver.

But this all comes to a close at the end of the year when the GB team is disbanded and Joyce returns to the Wales set up.

"I'm absolutely gutted that potentially I'm not going to be full time," she said.

"Who knows? In January I might have a contract but as far as I'm aware now I'll be going back to finishing my teacher training degree."

Joyce will be back in a Wales shirt when her Great Britain contract ends in December. Credit: PA

Joyce continued, "I am literally living the dream at the moment and have been since March when I became a full time rugby player - that's what I want to do, that who I want to be. 

"It's really sad that players like me, and a lot of other players, don't get to play on the world stage and don't get that opportunity to live the dream as a professional rugby player."

Joyce was able to become a professional rugby player with the GB team during the Olympic period thanks to National Lottery funding.

The Welsh Rugby Union does not offer women players paid contracts so while she does love representing her country, it does mean reverting back to amateur status in December.

Credit: PA

Balancing a full time job with an elite rugby career can "get on top of you mentally and physically," as Joyce explained.

"It is really tough to balance both a job and rugby. I've been lucky enough to be a full time player since March and mentally and physically it has helped me so much.

"It's helped me become a better rugby player, but it's also helped me enjoy life more.

"I can just focus on rugby, focus on recovery, and focus on my mental wellbeing at the end of that as well - making sure I do have down time and rest.

"Doing both is not sustainable. People are dropping out and people aren't showing what they're truly capable of."

Despite the personal setback, Joyce said she is confident the women's game is heading in the right direction and the reaction from fans on social media reflects that.

"The support that social media brings is absolutely massive.

"As a female rugby player we can get lots of abuse, lots of negative comments but all the comments I've had from the weekend have all been positive.

"As fans of women's rugby, keep doing that. Keep raising the profile of players who do miss out on playing on the world stage."

The Welsh Rugby Union have promised to put right some of the mistakes made with the women's game in Wales.

In the WRU's annual report, published this week, WRU chairman Rob Butcher admitted: "We know we don’t have everything right off the pitch, to enable our senior women’s side to perform on it."

Butcher said: "We know we have improvements to make, but the first step towards any solution is to identify the problem and we have measures in place to do so. The next step is to ensure the resources, the mindset and the dedicated personnel are in place to devise the way ahead and implement the necessary change."

"We will get it right," he added. "We may take time to do so - and we are acutely aware of a sense of urgency at the moment with the Rugby World Cup looming, so I don’t suggest we will take more time than necessary - but, most importantly, we will get it right."

A WRU spokesperson also told ITV News: "Newly appointed WRU Performance Director Nigel Walker has made it clear that women’s performance rugby will be amongst his priorities when he officially takes up the role at the end of this month (September) and the search has already begun for a new women’s head coach.