RL Today: Wakefield recruitment, Briscoe on Leeds exit & Jacques’ return?

Drew Darbyshire
Jacques O'Neill SWpix

Jacques’ return?

Love Island star Jacques O’Neill has been invited to make his rugby league return for his native Cumbria when they take on Jamaica in a World Cup warm-up match on October 7. (BBC Radio Cumbria)

The 23-year-old, who hails from Barrow, left Castleford in June to pursue an opportunity on hit reality TV show Love Island.

Cumbria boss Paul Crarey told BBC Radio Cumbria: “Jacques is definitely a Cumbrian and he would be an option if he wanted to play.

“He would probably bring people in to watch, and raise the profile of Cumbrian rugby league.”

Briscoe on Leeds exit

Tom Briscoe has opened up on his pending exit from Headingley as he prepares to bow out on the biggest stage at Old Trafford. (Leeds Live)

Briscoe told Leeds Live: “Finding out I would not be at the club next year and moving on, there wouldn’t be a better way to sign off than a Grand Final appearance but a win as well.”

Duo bringing power to Wire

Warrington full-back Matt Dufty believes new signings Paul Vaughan and Josh McGuire will add plenty of power to their pack. (Warrington Guardian)

On Vaughan, Dufty told Warrington Guardian: “I think over here, he’s going to generate a lot of ruck speed for us and hopefully us as the spine and outside backs can play off the back of it.”

Dufty said of McGuire: “He’s someone you really want to play with and you don’t like playing against – he’s one of those people who bring aggression to a football team. He brings a bit of fear factor.”

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Wakefield recruitment update

Wakefield chairman John Minards says the club are in talks with a number of outside recruits for 2023 (Wakefield Express)

Minards told Wakefield Express: “We’re very confident we’re going to assemble a very talented squad – a mix of a number of players we bring in with some really talented youngsters that are coming through here who worked under Mark (Applegarth, coach).

Kiwi star given eligibility exemption

The International Rugby League have given dual-international Marata Niukore special exemption to play for New Zealand at the World Cup. (Stuff)

The Parramatta Eels centre made his international debut for the Cook Islands in 2017; and helped the Kukis qualify for this year’s World Cup. Earlier this year he made his debut for birth nation New Zealand in their mid-season win over Tonga.

He wouldn’t be allowed to play in the World Cup under International Rugby League rules. Eligibility rules state that a player can move freely between a tier one and tier two nations, but this may not happen during a tournament, including the qualification process.

Niukore wouldn’t have been allowed to play for the Kukis or Kiwis this year, given that IRL rules state a player cannot elect to represent another nation in the same calendar year.

However, Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has confirmed to Stuff that they’ve been given an exemption for him to play.

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Long-serving forward leaves Toulouse

France international prop Maxime Puech has left Toulouse after eight seasons with the club.

The 28-year-old has made 131 appearances for Toulouse since making his first team debut in 2014. He played 17 games in Super League in 2022.

Marsters on joining Huddersfield

Cook Islands star Esan Marsters is excited to test himself in Super League after agreeing a two-year deal with Huddersfield from 2023.

The 26-year-old centre has made almost 100 NRL appearances for the Tigers, Cowboys and Titans. He will be playing for the Cook Islands at the upcoming World Cup.

Marsters said: “It’s massive for me, coming over and experiencing what England is like, doing some travelling. But also, it’s a great opportunity to concentrate and enjoy my footy in the Super League.”


Former New Zealand, Widnes, Warrington and Salford forward Kevin Tamati turns 69 today (September 21).

Also celebrating; former Harlequins full-back Chris Melling (38), Gold Coast Titans favourite Anthony Don (35), ex-NRL winger Sandor Earl (33), Warrington-bound prop Sam Kasiano (32), ex-Ireland international Jamie O’Callaghan (32), Wakefield winger Tom Lineham (30), Newcastle’s Chapelhow twins (27), Salford forward Jack Wells (25) and Huddersfield half-back Olly Russell (24).


St Helens legend James Roby will equal Jamie Peacock’s record of 11 Super League Grand Final appearances on Saturday.

PODCAST: Gil Dudson on Catalans red mist, winning Wigan, World Cup fears and reigniting Warrington

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