Crusaders release Oli Jager as rumours swirl around triple qualified prop’s future

Crusaders appear to have released Oli Jager, the Irish tighthead who had set his sights on becoming a New Zealand All Black.

It’s being reported in New Zealand that Jager has been granted an early release from his current contract – which was to run until 2024 – so that he could take up another opportunity.

Jager was not named in the Crusaders official Super Rugby squad, with just five props retained by the championship-winning side.

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The London-born-prop who was raised in Ireland has plenty of options and his leaving the Super Rugby champ has led to widespread speculation that the 28-year-old may be returning to Ireland.

With Leinster set to lose Samoan tighthead Michael Ala’alatoa to Clermont next season, the prospect of an Irish-qualified tighthead of Jager’s calibre being picked up by the province becomes a real possibility. A Kildare native, Jager will also be on have been on the radar of all four provinces.

Given he is leaving New Zealand’s most successful franchise, it seems that Jager may have given up on his dream of becoming an All Black.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear in the last couple of years that I want to be an All Black,” Jager said in 22 when asked about his international allegiances. “I’ve put a lot of effort into it, I’ve stayed in New Zealand. This is my sixth year in Super Rugby. I feel like I’ve been here long enough that I really feel part of New Zealand and I really feel like I’ve got a lot of friends in the team.”

Despite coming through the Irish system and playing for renowned Irish rugby nursery Blackrock College, Jager left for New Zealand and attended the Crusaders international high-performance unit in 2013. 

“Obviously being from Ireland, born in England, growing up in the northern hemisphere you hear of everyone coming up from the southern hemisphere to England, Ireland. Everyone in the northern hemisphere has had a couple of players play up there, the Bundee Akis, the (Riki) Fluteys, all those players,” Jager told RugbyPass last year. “You never hear really the other way around and it’s a pretty cool thing to be able to have the chance of doing it – but doing it is a whole other story.  I feel like I need to get a lot better, really focus my game a lot more. But at the moment to answer your question, I would probably like to see myself as an All Black ahead of Ireland.”


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