Yesterday, Castleford Tigers confirmed that Jacques O’Neill was joining a shock new club for the rest of 2023.
O’Neill may have only made 29 appearances in his career but he is one of the most well known players in the sport due to his time on Love Island which boosted his Instagram following to over a million.
He featured on Love Island last summer as he left Castleford for the Villa where he emerged as an early favourite until things went south and he left.
He spent the next year using his new platform to champion mental health before returning to the Tigers.
Yet to play a game for the Tigers, O’Neill has joined Championship club Sheffield Eagles to get himself up to speed.
“For me, it’s good to be here in a different environment and back playing rugby,” he said.
“I need to get back on the field, that’s the most important thing for me.
“I’ve played with Cory for a few years, Mark (Aston) is a great bloke and I’ve had some meetings with him.
“In my time right now, I think it’s the right place for me.”
Director of Rugby Aston added: “I’m delighted, we need some fresh blood and competition for places,”
“Jacques has certainly got potential, he’s played at Super League and everyone I’ve spoke to about him has said great things.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him in training and how he goes on the pitch when he is selected.
“He’s had a couple of years of tough stuff with injuries, now it’s time to get back to what he does best and what he loves – that’s playing rugby league.
“He’s excited, he’s committed to get his name back to where it was.
“He adds a bit of spice, he’s tough and uncompromising. He’s got a tough few weeks to get himself in condition to be challenging for a spot.”
Despite this, O’Neill faces an uncertain future.
When he re-joined the Tigers for 2023 he signed on a one year deal. Having yet to play for the club, it raises questions about whether or not his time there will be extended.
Sheffield may also have an interest in him among others.
How this loan move pans out will be key to how his career pans out from here.