x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Castleford Tigers' Zak Hardaker ruled out of England's World Cup squad after being provisionally suspended over failed drug test, Rugby Football League says

Castleford, who lost 24-6 to Leeds Rhinos in Super League's Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, dropped the fullback for what they called a breach of club club rules

Castleford Tigers' Zak Hardaker was suspended by his club before the Grand Final at Old Trafford for breaching club rules. The Rugby Football League has subsequently said the fullback has failed a drugs test. Andrew Boyers / Reuters
Castleford Tigers' Zak Hardaker was suspended by his club before the Grand Final at Old Trafford for breaching club rules. The Rugby Football League has subsequently said the fullback has failed a drugs test. Andrew Boyers / Reuters

Zak Hardaker - dropped by his club Castleford for the Grand Final over the weekend - has been ruled out of England's rugby league World Cup squad and provisionally suspended over a failed drugs test, the Rugby Football League said Monday.

Castleford Tigers, who lost 24-6 to Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford on Saturday, dropped the fullback for what they called a breach of club club rules and the governing body has now revealed the player tested positive for a banned substance following his club's win against the same opponents last month.

"The Rugby Football League can confirm that Zak Hardaker is provisionally suspended from all competition after it received notification from UK Anti-Doping that he had tested positive for a banned substance following a Super 8s game between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos on September 8, 2017," a spokesman said.

England were due to announce on Monday their squad for the World Cup starting in Australia at the end of this month, and Hardaker had been expected to feature in it.

The player, who faces a potential two-year ban, apologised for his "enormous error of judgement" to his teammates, club and fans in a statement on the Tigers' website.

"I would like to make it clear that in no way did I, nor would I, ever take a substance with the intention of enhancing my performance," added Hardaker.

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

The 25-year-old fullback has enjoyed a stunning return to form in his first season with the Tigers following his exit from Leeds.

Hardaker has been in trouble before, axed from the England squad during the 2013 World Cup due to a breach of discipline that earned him a final warning from Leeds.

He served a five-match ban in 2014 for a homophobic insult towards a referee and in 2015, after being detained and questioned on suspicion of assault, he was forced to pay compensation and write a letter of apology to the victim.