Jacques O’Neill: Love Island star and former Castleford Tigers player plans rugby league return | Rugby League News
Ex-Castleford Tigers forward Jacques O’Neill confirms he wants to resume professional rugby league career; the 23-year-old left the Betfred Super League club to compete in reality show Love Island last year; watch the 2023 Super League season live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 08/02/23 5:04pm
Love Island star Jacques O’Neill has revealed he is aiming for a rugby league return sooner rather than later on the eve of the 2023 Betfred Super League season.
The 23-year-old gave up his contract with Castleford Tigers to compete in the hit reality show in June last year, but decided to leave on day 37 for mental health reasons.
O’Neill has previously spoken about a potential return to playing rugby league and confirmed his intention to resume his on-field career when appearing as a guest on The Verdict.
After being reminded of his Love Island rant last year, Sky Sports rugby league pundit Jon Wilkin is faced with ex-Castleford Tigers player and former contestant Jacques O’Neill.
“I’m hoping soon, honestly,” O’Neill told the show on Sky Sports News. “I’m hoping sooner than I thought because I miss it, to be honest.
“When you love something as a kid, it doesn’t just go away – I want to be back.”
O’Neill made 29 appearances for Castleford between 2019 and 2022, having come through the Tigers’ academy after joining as a junior from Cumbrian community club Askam.
Cas kick off the 2023 Super League campaign away to Hull FC on Sunday, February 19 and Barrow-born forward O’Neill expects new signings Gareth Widdop and Jake Miller to help push his old side towards the play-offs after narrowly missing out in the final round of the regular season last year.
“They’ve signed really well,” O’Neill said. “Last year they had a few injuries in the halves, but I feel with Gareth Widdop in the halves and Jacob Miller, they’ll go really, really well.
“I think Paul McShane will be able to just do his job instead of trying to run the team, and they’ve got Joe Westerman at loose forward who will run the team.
“I think they should be looking at the top four or five this year.”
The new Betfred Super League season starts on Thursday, February 16 as Warrington Wolves host Leeds Rhinos. Watch 66 live matches, including Magic Weekend, the play-offs and the Grand Final, on Sky Sports in 2023 and stream on NOW TV.