Former Castleford Tigers hooker Jacques O’Neill is now one of the biggest names in rugby league or at least one of the most well known.
No other Super League player has a following quite like Jacques O’Neill. This is because of his time on reality TV show Love Island.
The hooker hails from Cumbria and made the move over to Castleford where he was emerging as a future number nine but injuries kept getting in the way after he made his debut in 2020.
He was then granted his release mid way through the 2022 Super League season to be a bombshell on Love Island.
O’Neill started off strong and emerged as an early favourite to win the show but the split off to a different villa stalled his momentum.
He then elected to leave the show of his own accord and would spend the next year building up his social media presence, championing the importance of mental health and making rare appearances on Sky Sports to give his opinion on the Super League season.
He would not be the last Super League star to make the plunge over to the Love Island Villa with Leigh Leopards and former Warrington Wolves outside back Keenan Brand also making an appearance.
This happened shortly after O’Neill had returned to rugby league with the Tigers who had first refusal on him when he decided to make the move back to rugby league.
However, it was always going to take time for him to build his fitness back up which saw him make no first team appearance for the Tigers and instead spend most of his time prepping with the reserves.
But, only signed to a one year deal, O’Neill has now left the club as confirmed by new Head Coach and former Batley Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard speaking to Niche Sports.
What this means for O’Neill going forward remains unclear. Could we see him in the Championship or will he come back to Super League or will he leave the sport all together? Time will tell but whatever he does he will certainly attract attention moving forward.