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Bristol Bears lock Joe Joyce to join Connacht for start of 2023/24 season

The Irish-qualified second row will make the move to the Sportsground next summer.

Bristol Bears lock Joe Joyce.
Bristol Bears lock Joe Joyce.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

CONNACHT HAVE ANNOUNCED the signing of second row Joe Joyce from Bristol Bears.

The 28-year-old will join the province for the start of the 2023/24 season.

Joyce – a Challenge Cup winner in 2020 – has made over 150 appearances for the Bears, with next season set to be his 11th with the club.

The lock is Irish-qualified, with his grandparents born in Clonbur, Co Galway, and represented Ireland in the 2014 U20 Six Nations.

He enjoyed a strong 2021/22 season and was named Bristol’s Forward of the Season, Team Man of the Season and Supporters’ Player of the Season – and was also shortlisted for the Gallagher Community Player of the Season award, in recognition of his community engagement efforts with local charities and programmes.

“After many years representing my hometown club I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent my Irish roots and my family name,” Joyce said.

“I’ve been to the West of Ireland and The Sportsground on many occasions to visit family and as a supporter, and I can’t wait to make an impact on and off the field in the province as a Connacht player and make my family proud. After speaking to the coaches, Tim and Willie I’m very excited about the future of Connacht Rugby and can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Connacht head coach Andy Friend added: “We are thrilled Joe has chosen to join the club for the start of the 2023/24 season.

“Whilst we know his arrival is still 12 months away, we are already excited by the prospect of what he will bring to Connacht Rugby and his signing represents a key addition to the squad we are looking to build.

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“Joe is a big physical lock, with excellent athletic and footballing ability and so he is a great fit for how we want play.

“Off the pitch Joe is also the type of player who understands the importance of community and I have no doubt he will make a positive impact in that area, something we as a club place a significant value on.” 

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