Born: 15 January, 1980 – Sydney
Test record: 10 Tests (2002-04, 2006) – 0 points
Tours: 2002 tour of Britain and France, 2004 Tri Nations, 2006 Tri Nations
No-frills prop Jason Cayless followed older brother Nathan into the Kiwis – playing 10 Tests from 2002-06 – and tasted premiership success in Australia and England during a decade-long professional career.
The Sydney-born 20-year-old made his first-grade debut in 2000 for a Parramatta side captained by Nathan, featuring in the Eels’ spirited finals campaign after only three appearances in the top flight. Cayless played for City Origin in 2001 and linked with Sydney Roosters the following season after missing out on the Eels’ run to the grand final.
Cementing a front-row spot in the imposing Roosters pack midway through 2002, Cayless celebrated in the club’s grand final triumph. He subsequently won a spot in New Zealand’s squad to tour Britain and France – effectively rejecting his pursuit of a NSW jumper – and debuted in the black-and-white jersey against Hull FC. Cayless played his first Test in the tour-closing win against France in Perpignan.
The Cayless brothers became the 16th set of siblings to team up in a Test together in 2003 (Nathan was unavailable for the previous year’s tour), both starting in the front-row as the Kiwis were swamped 48-6 by Australia.
Jason endured consecutive grand final defeats with the Roosters in 2003-04 but became a Kiwis regular, lining up in the 2004 Anzac Test, three matches of that year’s Tri Nations in Britain and the one-off encounter with France. Off-season surgery requirements ahead of his move to St Helens ruled Cayless out of the 2005 Tri Nations.
Cayless enjoyed a dream start to his stint with the Saints, featuring in the club’s 2006 Challenge Cup-Super League grand final double and winning a second Challenge Cup final in 2007. The 194cm bookend’s Kiwis tenure concluded with a front-row start in the 2006 Anzac Test and an interchange appearance in the Tri Nations win over Great Britain in Christchurch later that year.
Injuries brought Cayless’ Super League stay to a premature end in 2009 and restricted him to just three games for Wests Tigers following his return to the NRL. The veteran announced his retirement prior to the 2011 season.