James Stewart Boyce
- 475Wallaby Number
Jim Boyce was a prominent part of the golden age of Australian rugby in the early to mid-1960’s. Tall, with a solid build, Jim had the size to comfortably play across the three-quarter line with a preference for outside centre. Boyce was quick, ran strongly, possessed a safe pair of hands, and tackled more than effectively. In an era when wingers threw into the lineout, both Jim and his twin brother Stewart, perfected the art and had a magnificent understanding with lineout ace, Rob Heming, and this contributed greatly to Australia's successes in this period.
Born in Sydney, Boyce was educated at The Scots College. Both brothers joined fellow future Wallaby Rupert Rosenblum in the 1st XV for two seasons (1958-59) and won the GPS premiership in their final year.
In 1960 the Boyces attended the University of Sydney where Jim enrolled in economics and Stewart studied medicine. In 1962 Jim played for South Harbour in the Wallaby trials for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. He then found himself on the wing in the final trial for ‘Australia’ versus The Rest and from there was selected in the touring party. Boyce scored an amazing 10 ten tries in his first three games, an all-comers record six in one game against Wairarapa, and was chosen to make his Test debut on the left wing in Wellington. However, when Bruce Harland withdrew due to an ankle injury Boyce shifted to outside centre to partner Beres Ellwood.
From his debut, Jim played in 12 of the Wallabies’ next 13 Tests through to the end of the 1965 home series against South Africa. He enjoyed some of Australia’s greatest ever victories during that run - the two away wins against South Africa in 1963, the first time the Springboks had lost back-to-back Tests all century; the 20-5 defeat of New Zealand in 1964, the largest loss at home in All Black history; and the 2-0 home series win over South Africa in 1965.
One unique occasion in his career was when the twins played their first Test match together at Carisbrook, Dunedin in 1964. Unfortunately New Zealand won 14-9.
At the end of 1965, Jim left Australia for the United States to study business administration and finance for two years at the University of California in Berkeley. After two years in America, Boyce headed to London where he played occasionally for London Scottish.
In 1971 Jim joined the anti-apartheid protesters who called for the Springbok tour of Australia to be cancelled. Widely condemned at the time, along with fellow Wallabies Paul Darveniza, Tony Abrahams, Terry Forman, Barry McDonald, Jim Roxburgh and Bruce Taafe, his strong convictions eventually bore fruit. In 1972, the newly-elected Labor government headed by Gough Whitlam, suspended sporting contact with South Africa.
Jim Boyce played 12 Tests for Australia in a four-year international career.
Boyce won his first Test cap at outside centre alongside Beres Ellwood in the 1st test, 9-9 draw with New Zealand at Athletic Park. He shifted back to the left wing when Dick Marks returned for the final two Tests of that series.
Boyce started on the left wing in all five Wallaby Tests against England (1) and South Africa (4).
Jim and Stewart played on opposite wings for the first time in the 1st Test, 9-14 loss at Carisbrook. Jim withdrew from the 2nd Test side due to a massive haematoma on the front of his right thigh but returned for the 3rd Test, 20-5 victory at Athletic Park.
Boyce played his final two Tests on the left wing with his brother on the right as Australia defeated South Africa 2-0.