International Pathway

  • Wyggeston AASE2015
  • Leicester A2016
  • Leicester U182016
  • England U182017
  • Loughborough Students2017
  • England U202018


A former member of Nottingham Forest Football Academy, Joe Heyes was a goalkeeper, like his father Darren and his granddad Bob.

But at the age of 14, he found his rugby niche when he joined Nottingham Moderns.

He also played for Newark, where Glen Lever and Dave Charles taught him the basics of the game before he joined Leicester Tigers Academy in 2015.

“It was there that Brett Deacon, Anthony Allen and Boris Stankovich got me to understand the nitty-gritty of rugby," Joe said.

"My biggest obstacle has been mental health. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2016, but with the help of friends and family I got support and was back playing at Leicester.”

Born in Nottingham and educated at Toot Hill School in Bingham, he has been studying history, business and sociology at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester.

He played in all nine England U18 matches in 2017 and was a maiden try-scorer in the 45-24 win over Scotland in the U18 International Series at Ystrad Mynach in April.

His best experience was playing for England U18 in the 39-20 win over Ireland at Parc y Scarlets in April 2017, watched by his Irish mother and grandparents.

He was also a member of the U18 squad that toured South Africa in August 2017.

Joe's U20 debut came against Wales during the 2018 Six Nations, when he started in England's 37-12 victory at Newcastle's Kingston Park and was a dominating presence in the scrum.

He also managed to bag a try against Ireland on the final day, as England came within points difference of winning the title.

In Joe’s younger days, his rugby heroes were, not surprisingly, props; Ireland’s Cian Healy and Logovi'i Mulipola, of the Tigers. He is involved in a lot of football and table tennis, and follows American football.

Joe's family aren't short of sporting talent either, his granddad George won the Welsh FA Cup with Swansea City and was also with Leicester City. His other granddad, Bob Rees, was a British record-holder in the long jump.  

His mother, Rachel, played for Ireland and Nottingham Wildcats at basketball while his dad Darren appeared for Nottingham Forest and various England representative teams.

U20 International Record

5 points - 1T 

2018 W, S(R), I, SA

U18 International Record

5 points – 1T

2017 F(R), S, W(R), C(R), I(R), S; SA Tour: F, W(R), SA

Last updated: 23 May 2018