Love Island star Jacques O’Neill ready to start grafting for Castleford again

Love Island star Jacques O’Neill ready to start grafting for Castleford again

Jacques O’Neill will return to Castleford next month after quitting the club last year in order to become a contestant on the ITV reality show Love Island.

The 23-year-old, who came through the club’s academy and made 29 appearances prior to his departure, has re-signed an initial deal until the end of the current season.

O’Neill left the ITV show prematurely citing struggles with his mental health, and he paid tribute to the club and their fans for helping him through the subsequent period.

Castleford Tigers v Catalan Dragons – Betfred Super League – Emerald Headingley Stadium
Jacques O’Neill, left, has re-signed for Castleford (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The support from the Cas fans when I left the show was absolutely massive to me,” said O’Neill.

“When I came down to The Jungle for the first time and everyone was there supporting me, it meant so much.

“I just can’t wait to be back playing the sport I love again and being back around the ground with the boys.

Castleford Tigers v Salford Red Devils – Betfred Super League – The Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Jacques O’Neill is relishing the prospect of returning to The Jungle (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“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.”

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.

O’Neill struggled on the programme before making the decision to leave, telling fellow contestants that he wanted to “get home and be myself again”.

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.”