Zak Har­daker: Castle­ford Tigers full-back banned after pos­i­tive drugs test

Daily Nation Newspaper - - SPORTS -

Eng­land and Castle­ford Tigers full-back Zak Har­daker has been pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended after test­ing pos­i­tive for co­caine and will miss the World Cup.

The 25-year-old was omit­ted from the Tigers’ squad for Satur­day’s Grand Fi­nal loss to Leeds Rhi­nos and was not named in Eng­land’s squad on Monday.

Har­daker’s failed test came after a Su­per 8s game against Leeds, his former club, on 8 Septem­ber.

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

In a state­ment on the club web­site, Har­daker said: “I would like to apol­o­gise to my team-mates, the staff and all fans for my enor­mous er­ror of judg­ment.

“I was given an op­por­tu­nity by this great club and in what has been one of the most im­por­tant weeks in its his­tory, I have let ev­ery­one at the club down. For that, I truly apol­o­gise. “Fi­nally, 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

Har­daker was one of three nom­i­nees for Su­per League’s Man of Steel award, hav­ing scored 13 tries in 30 games as Tigers won the League Lead­ers’ Shield for the first time, and was ex­pected to be named in the Eng­land squad for World Cup in Aus­tralia.

“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,” read a state­ment from the RFL.

“He will there­fore not be con­sid­ered for the Eng­land Rugby League World Cup squad due to be an­nounced on Monday at 12:00 BST.”

The RFL and Castle­ford said they will be mak­ing no fur­ther com­ment un­til the out­come of the case has been de­ter­mined.

Castle­ford said on Thurs­day that Har­daker had been left out of their Grand Fi­nal squad be­cause of a “breach of club rules”.

Speak­ing after Satur­day’s 24-6 de­feat by Leeds at Old Traf­ford, head coach Daryl Pow­ell said: “I still thought we had a team out there that could have won the game if we’d played any­where near our po­ten­tial.

“But if you take a player like him out of any team, it’s go­ing to be a dis­rup­tion.

“You take your full-back out two days be­fore the game, and you have one ses­sion of prepa­ra­tion - it’s clearly not go­ing to help.

“It is what it is. There’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing we can do about that.”-BBC

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