Castleford Tigers hooker Jacques O’Neill has joined Championship side Sheffield Eagles as he looks to regain full match fitness.
The 24-year-old came through the academy at Castleford, making 29 appearances for the Tigers since making his first team debut in 2019.
O’Neill then had a spell away from rugby league in 2022 to appear on hit reality TV show Love Island, and returned to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in April.
Since his return earlier this year, O’Neill has been working hard on his progression towards playing competitive rugby league again and will continue his rehabilitation at the Eagles.
The Cumbrian hooker has joined Sheffield on an initial two-week loan which will continue on a week-by-week basis until the end of the season as he looks to sharpen his match fitness.
“For me, it’s good to be here in a different environment and back playing rugby,” O’Neill said.
“I need to get back on the field, that’s the most important thing for me.
“I’ve played with Cory (Aston) for a few years, Mark (Aston, coach) is a great bloke and I’ve had some meetings with him.
“In my time right now, I think it’s the right place for me.”
Sheffield Eagles boss ‘delighted’ to make Jacques O’Neill loan signing
O’Neill joins the Eagles as additional support for Sheffield’s only out-and-out hooker Vila Halafihi as the Championship enters the business end of the season.
Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston said: “I’m delighted, we need some fresh blood and competition for places,”
“Jacques has certainly got potential, he’s played at Super League and everyone I’ve spoke to about him has said great things.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him in training and how he goes on the pitch when he is selected.
“He’s had a couple of years of tough stuff with injuries, now it’s time to get back to what he does best and what he loves – that’s playing rugby league.
“He’s excited, he’s committed to get his name back to where it was.
“He adds a bit of spice, he’s tough and uncompromising. He’s got a tough few weeks to get himself in condition to be challenging for a spot.”