Crusaders prop Oli Jager returning to Ireland after requesting contract release
The 28-year-old is a five-time Super Rugby champion.
Oli Jager is on his way back to Ireland after his Super Rugby side confirmed he was not in their squad for the 2024 season.
Jager was born in London but raised in Kildare and played for Blackrock College and in the Leinster underage set-up. He headed to New Zealand in his early 20s and was spotted, in 2016, by the Crusaders as he was playing for Canterbury.
He made his Crusaders debut in 2017 and has played 51 times for the Kiwi franchise, under Scott Robertson. In 2022 he stated is was his "dream" to represent the All Blacks, after he satisfied the World Rugby residency rules. Munster enquired if they could bring him back to Ireland, around that time, but Jager was focused on Super Rugby and the ABs.
He has one appearance for a New Zealand Barbarians side and was selected for a New Zealand 'A' side last October but missed a game against Ireland 'A' at The RDS. Missing that game keeps the door open for Ireland Test duty.
Oli Jager heading to Ireland
The Crusaders announced their 2024 senior squad list, on Thursday, and Oli Jager was not included. It has been reported by Stuff, a leading Kiwi rugby outlet, that the tighthead prop requested out of his Crusaders contract as an opportunity has opened up back in Ireland.
Crusaders, and former Munster, coach Scott Penny commented:
"We are in the process of working through that and, ultimately, that will probably be honoured...
"I can’t elaborate too much [on Oli Jager]...you will put two and two together, and he will come out with a release very shortly."
That release will be forthcoming but, until then, it has left Jager's next move open for debate. "I grew up supporting Leinster," he told The Irish Times last year, "but you always knew, after watching Super Rugby, the Crusaders were something special."
Leinster could certainly use an experienced tighthead, particularly as Tadhg Furlong is often on Ireland duty or being game managed. In two of his last three full seasons, Furlong played six (2020/21) and seven (2022/23) games.
Ulster would welcome Oli Jager as they are without the injured Marty Moore and Tom O'Toole for the next while.
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