James Emerton Joyce

  • 1Caps
  • 36Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthFebruary 1, 1872
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolNot known
Debut ClubGlebe
Debut Test Match1903 Wallabies v New Zealand, Sydney
DiedJuly 24, 1933


James (‘Bull’) Joyce was a solid lock who played 75 games for the strong Glebe Club in Sydney. He also played 13 times for NSW, 12 of these against Queensland. His first foray against international competition was in 1899 for the Metropolis side against the touring Britain side. It was their sixteenth match, and the visitor eked out a narrow 8 to 5 victory. The weather was atrocious and the game unattractive, but Jim got a taste of the demands at this higher level. It was in 1903 against New Zealand when the peak of his career was reached. He was selected in the first NSW match against the visitors, and NSW went down 0 to 12. He and Alex Burdon were the only two from the Glebe Club, both forwards. It was Burdon who was to become a pivotal figure in the breakaway movement to professional rugby.

Joyce was not selected for the return NSW match, but was selected for his only international on the 15th August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In this match Australia switched from the 2-3-2 formation to 3-2-3 following the British model. They also changed to utilising four three-quarters rather that the two five-eighth scheme used by New Zealand. This was the first Test between Australia and New Zealand. Australia was thrashed in the match 3 to 22. The Australian team for his debut was John Maund, Charlie White, Sid Riley, Stan Wickham (capt.), Charlie Redwood, Lew Evans, Austin Gralton,,Bill Hardcastle, Sine Boland, Harold Judd, James Joyce, Dennis Lutge, Frank Nicholson, Ted Larkin, Alex Burdon. Australian critics conceded the better team won and noted: “The great difference between the teams is that the New Zealanders go right on with the game, irrespective of forward passes, knock-ons or other breaches of the rules. Australians if they observe a forward pass pause and momentary relax their efforts.” This was the only Test played by the 1903 New Zealanders and the last time Joyce would play against a touring team. Joyce was a tailor by trade.

James Emerton Joyce
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