Ex-Castleford Tigers man Jacques O’Neill the poster boy for rugby league

Jacques O’Neill has been a busy man this past week, sunning himself in the Love Island villa.

After being granted a release by Castleford Tigers to ‘pursue other opportunities’, that opportunity was revealed in the shape of ITV2’s Love Island last Sunday.

The 23-year-old made an entrance into the villa, sweeping Welsh wonder Paige off her feet before his occupation as as rugby league player was revealed.

Of course, that was a focal point of one episode last week when one of the new ‘bombshells’ Jay came in taunting Jacques by saying he ‘looked small for a rugby player.’

That prompted O’Neill to threaten the new Scottish boy to run at him and that he would ‘flatten’ him.

With that, it seems that Google has gone into overdrive with people searching the terms ‘Castleford’ and Castleford Tigers’.

TheΒ Yorkshire Post has revealed that searches for ‘Castleford’ or Castle Ford have more than doubled in search queries online, whilst searches for Super League club ‘Castleford Tigers’ have also experienced an incredible increase.

Season ticket holder at Castleford Tigers, a trustee of Rugby League Cares and chair of Castleford Heritage Trust, Jane Walton, said: β€œI welcome the inclusion of player Jacques O’Neil in this season’s Love Island. Anything that raises the profile of the area and the sport in a positive way is a good thing. I’d like to wish Jacques all the best and hope he returns to playing for the Tigers next season.”

Of course, O’Neill hinted on the program that he could return to rugby league once his summer hiatus on Love Island has finished.

Castleford, inspired by their latest arrival into the Love Island villa, delivered the news of Leeds Rhinos’ Alex Mellor making the move to the Jungle in the format designed on the ITV2 program, with a red klaxon for a ‘bombshell’ whilst the news was delivered in the voice of Iain Stirling – the co-host of Love Island.

It is a truly innovative way of getting the news across and one which underlines the media hurrah currently surrounding the Tigers and O’Neill.

And, leading rugby league agent Craig Harrison of Show Me The Money UK believes rugby league should tap into the great media attention O’Neill is bringing the sport once the former Castleford forward gets out of the villa.

“One of the first things you could do when Jacques gets out of there, you could get him doing the World Cup,” Harrison said on The Full Eighty Minutes podcast.

“Get him to come out and try get a new market, we need to get a roll on and get it out everywhere.”

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