Jacques “Jax” O’Neill became the first rugby league player to enter the Love Island villa following his release from the West Yorkshire club.
Since the Super League player who has spent most of the season on the bench due to a hamstring injury, appeared on the ITV2 show on June 12, “Castleford” or “Castle Ford” has more than doubled in search queries online.
Season ticket holder at Castleford Tigers, a trustee of Rugby League Cares and chair of Castleford Heritage Trust, Jane Walton, said: “I welcome the inclusion of player Jacques O'Neil in this season's Love Island.
"Anything that raises the profile of the area and the sport in a positive way is a good thing. I'd like to wish Jacques all the best and hope he returns to playing for the Tigers next season."
Other Tigers fans agreed, saying on Facebook: “Can't fault him really...what better place can you go to recover from a hamstring injury than 12 weeks in Mallorca...Great player and will be back with the Tigers soon enough.”
Another commented: “Promoting rugby league and Cas to the world so what it’s Love Island, the boy will be throwing that ball about again no doubt.”
Whereas others weren't so sure, calling it a “joke,” and mocking the player for leaving the sport even if it is temporarily.
Who is Jacques O’Neill?
Cumbrian-born O’Neill, 23, moved to Castleford aged 16 with his mum Janet Wright. He joined the Castleford Tigers Academy at a young age.
O'Neill made his debut aged 20 and has played 29 times for Castleford as well as being named in the England Knights performance squad, which is effectively a 'B' team for the England Rugby League side.
He has been released from his two-year Castleford Tigers contract which he signed last summer to enter the show, but if he decides to return to rugby league, Castleford will have the first opportunity to sign him.