Doping - Hardaker out of England rugby league squad after failed test

Doping - Hardaker out of England rugby league squad after failed test”

Castleford Tigers full-back Zak Hardaker has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance and will not be considered for England's Rugby League World Cup squad, the Rugby Football League (RFL) has announced.

England global Zak Hardaker - dropped by his club Castleford for the Grand Final over the weekend - has been provisionally suspended over a failed drugs test, the Rugby Football League said Monday.

The Rugby Football League has now said the 25-year-old failed a drugs test after Castleford played Leeds last month.

The club have confirmed that they received notification of a positive test for a banned substance following the Super 8s match against Leeds Rhinos on 8th September 2017.

Hardaker was one of Castleford's key players this season as Daryl Powell's side won the League Leaders' Shield.

Sources say it was cocaine and it flashed up in a sample after the Super 8s game, ironically against Grand Final opponents and his former club Leeds.

Hardaker, who joined Penrith in June 2016 and played 11 games for the Panthers, including in the NRL finals that year, took to the Castleford website to express his remorse.

Previous rugby league bans for cocaine use include Keighley's Gavin Duffy who was suspended for 15 months in March past year and Gareth Hock, who was at Wigan at the time.

But his on-field brilliance has been marred by off-field problems throughout his career. He missed out on the 2013 World Cup squad after a breach of team discipline and was fined by Leeds after he "acted unprofessionally".

If you met Zak Hardaker, your likeliest first impression would be of a lovely lad who is endearingly honest about the mistakes he's made.

Super League players Rangi Chase and Adam Walker are now subject to RFL & UKAD investigations after testing positive for cocaine in July, with both provisionally suspended by the RFL.

He was a shoe-in for the England squad for the forthcoming World Cup in Australia. But he still has a chance for some redemption.

Castleford later released a statement confirming Hardaker's suspension, in which the player himself apologised for his indiscretion.

Hardaker could be suspended for two years as a result of his positive test.

In short, it's time for the lad to grow up.

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