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21-year-old Irish tighthead Jager joins Crusaders for 2017 Super Rugby

The former Blackrock College student has taken another step up the New Zealand ladder.

IRISH TIGHTHEAD PROP Oli Jager has been named in the Crusaders’ squad for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The 21-year-old is part of new head coach Scott Robertson’s 38-man squad, which will begin training for the new campaign next month.

download Jager had an impressive Mitre 10 Cup season with Canterbury. Source: Inpho/Photosport/John Cowpland

Jager joins the likes of All Blacks Owen Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Ryan Crotty, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Israel Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu in the Crusaders’ group.

Naas man Jager won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup with Blackrock College in 2013, and played for the Ireland U18 Schools team the same year.

He travelled to New Zealand as a 17-year-old to attend the International High Performance Unit [IHPU] in Christchurch, impressing enough to be asked back to play club rugby the following season.

Jager’s performances with New Brighton earned him a place in the Canterbury academy and he progressed into their Mitre 10 Cup squad this year, making eight appearances and helping the province to Premiership Division success and the Ranfurly Shield.

Robertson, who was Jager’s coach at Canterbury, has now added the tighthead to his Crusaders squad ahead of the 2017 campaign, marking another milestone in Jager’s unique and impressive rise.

Robertson last month told The42 that he believes Jager’s potential may see him eventually push for Test rugby, with an All Blacks jersey possibly coming into view in the future.

download Jager, left, helped Canterbury to the Ranfurly Shield and Mitre 10 Cup this year. Source: Inpho/Photosport/John Cowpland

The IRFU are aware of Jager’s achievements in New Zealand, however, and have been tracking his performances for some time.

From Jager’s point of view, making a Super Rugby debut in 2017 is the next goal as he continues to be rewarded for his hard work.

Oli first came to New Zealand at his own expense to attend a six week course at the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, straight after high school,” said Robertson as he announced his 2017 squad.

“He enjoyed the experience so much that he opted to return the following year, and that led to an offer of a spot in the Crusaders Academy. He had a strong debut season for the Canterbury team this year and, at just 21 years of age, is showing potential in spades.”

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