Nearly two weeks ago Castleford Tigers stunned the rugby league world.
They announced that Jacques O’Neill has re-joined the club after gaining fame on Love Island.
He signed on an initial contract until the end of 2023.
O’Neill previously played for the Tigers from 2019 to 2022 before appearing on ITV’s hit reality show.
It was confirmed that he would join up with the squad today after the international break and so he could complete some of his last commitments before returning to Super League,
Now though the Tigers have shown Jacques’ return to training today as he begins his stunning road to a complete Super League return.
⌚️ Time to get started@Jacques9oneill • #COYF pic.twitter.com/4vFmZakvlN
— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) May 2, 2023
For someone who hasn’t played Super League since 2021, O’Neill looks in good shape and could provide the club with a real lift.
Before leaving The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, the 23-year-old, who is a proud product of the club’s Academy, featured for the First Team on 29 occasions, scoring three tries since making his debut in 2019.
Jacques opened up on his returning saying:
“I just can’t wait to be back playing the sport I love again and being back around the ground with the boys. Hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be back playing competitive rugby again because it’s been what I’ve been thinking about doing since I came out of Love Island.
“I’ve always wanted to play rugby again; it’s never been the case that I didn’t want to come back to it. It’s what I’ve loved doing since I was a child.”
After departing Love Island in the summer of last year, the Club and its supporters offered their support, which is something that Jacques is incredibly thankful for.
“The support from the Cas fans when I left the show was absolutely massive to me. When I came down to The Jungle for the first time and everyone was there supporting me, it meant so much.
“I can’t thank them enough and hopefully I can get out on the field soon and repay them for that support that they’ve shown me.”
O’Neill’s last appearance in a Castleford shirt came back in September 2021 and on his return to Wheldon Road, the forward claimed just how much he is relishing the possibility of running out for the club he started representing at just 16 years of age.
“To be able to run out at a packed-out Jungle again will be a bit mad. I absolutely can’t wait to get started!”
When asked about Jacques’ return, newly appointed Fords Head Coach Andy Last claimed that he’s happy to have him back on board.
“He’s a player who I’ve spent a little bit of time with before his appearance on Love Island. He’s a bubbly character and I’ve had the privilege of coaching against him. He’s very aggressive and he moves quickly. He’s certainly a player when he’s fit and he’s on the field he can influence a game.
“He’s got qualities that I like in a player so I’m looking forward to having Jacques on board.”