Keanan Brand: Professional rugby league player enters Love Island

Drew Darbyshire
Keanan Brand Leigh Leopards SWpix

Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix

Leigh Leopards star Keanan Brand has become the second professional rugby league player to enter hit reality TV show Love Island.

The 24-year-old follows in the footsteps of former Castleford hooker Jacques O’Neill, who was granted a release from his contract with the Tigers so he could take up the opportunity in Love Island, which is watched daily by millions.

Brand has made 73 career appearances for Widnes, Warrington and Leigh. He was part of Ireland’s squad for last year’s World Cup, although he didn’t make his international debut due to injury.

The Ormskirk-born centre was given the number 20 shirt at Leigh ahead of this season. He didn’t play in their opening game of the Super League season against Salford last week.

More on Keanan Brand

Brand came through the academy at Widnes, where he made 34 appearances before joining Super League side Warrington.

He spent the 2020 campaign at Warrington, playing three first team games for the Wolves.

And he linked up with Leigh in 2021, scoring 14 tries in 36 games for the club so far. He helped the Leopards win promotion to Super League last season.

Following in the footsteps of Jacques O’Neill

O’Neill went on the summer version of Love Island in 2022. He has since gained more than 1.3million followers on Instagram.

The Cumbrian hooker recently said he wanted to return to being a professional rugby league player. His former club Castleford have the first option to sign him.

When asked by reporter Jenna Brooks when will he be back on a rugby pitch, O’Neill replied: “I’m hoping soon, honestly. I’m hoping sooner than I thought because I miss it, I’m going to be honest. When you love something as a kid, it doesn’t go away. I want to be back.”

When asked about possibly re-signing O’Neill on Thursday, Castleford coach Lee Radford said: “I stay in touch with Jacques anyway on general stuff. But this week we’ve been knocked for six with the performance with the weekend so I’ve not had chance to catch up with anyone in relation to that this week.”

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