Love Island star Jacques O'Neill returns to Castleford Tigers

Jacques O'Neill
Jacques O'Neill originally left the club in June 2022. Credit: Castleford Tigers

Love Island star Jacques O'Neill has returned to professional rugby league after leaving the sport to appear on the ITV reality show.

Hooker O'Neill will return to Castleford Tigers next month after quitting the club in June last year. He has re-signed an initial deal until the end of the current season.

The 23-year-old came through the club's academy and scored three tries in 29 appearances for the Tigers.

O'Neill said: "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."

He added that he has "always wanted to play rugby again" and that it's what he's "loved doing since [he] was a child".

O'Neill spent 30 days in the Love Island villa in Majorca before choosing to leave the show, citing mental health struggles as his reason for leaving prematurely.

He said that the club and their fans had helped him get through the difficult time afterwards, adding: "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."

Castleford, who this week appointed Andy Last as the permanent successor to former head coach Lee Radford, were given first refusal on re-signing O’Neill following his departure.

Last said: "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 he’s got qualities that I like in a player so I’m looking forward to having Jacques on board."

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