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Irish tighthead Oli Jager in line for second Super Rugby cap for Crusaders

The 21-year-old made his debut last month against the Reds.

IRISH TIGHTHEAD PROP Oliver Jager has been named on the Crusaders bench for Friday’s Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Christchurch [KO 8.35am Irish time, Sky Sports 3], meaning he is in line for his second cap for the New Zealand franchise.

download Jager after Canterbury's Ranfurly Shield win last year.

The 21-year-old is a former Ireland Schools international who came played rugby with hometown club Naas RFC, Newbridge College and Blackrock College before heading to New Zealand after school to pursue his ambition to play professionally.

Jager impressed in the Crusaders International High Performance Unit programme in Christchurch, which involves training with the Canterbury academy, and went on to shine for local club side New Brighton.

Last year, he was part of the senior Canterbury provincial squad that won the prestigious Mitre 10 Cup title and secured the famous Ranfurly Shield, making eight appearances in total.

His performances for Canterbury earned him a place in Scott Robertson’s Crusaders squad for the 2017 Super Rugby season and the Irishman made his debut off the bench against the Reds last month.

Jager won a crucial turnover for the Crusaders in that game as he played a part in their 22-20 comeback victory.

Jager Jager [wearing 18] wins a turnover for the Crusaders.

With the likes of All Blacks prop Owen Franks and 25-year-old Michael Alaalatoa also competing for the tighthead slot, Jager has had to be patient but he is now set to win his second Super Rugby cap if used off the bench on Friday at AMI Stadium.

Speaking last year, Jager said he has an ambition to play for Ireland in the future, although his head coach Robertson indicated that the prop might have a decision to make between Ireland and New Zealand.

He’s got a really big future and, who knows, he could wear a black jersey,” said Robertson last year, when he was still Canterbury boss.

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“It could be a big choice for him. He will become eligible, he’s been in the Crusaders mix and here with Canterbury. We might have one come the other way, you never know – there’s a few Kiwis running around in the green jersey.”

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