With his World cup hopes now over, Zak Hardaker faces a lengthy ban on the sidelines after he was handed a provisional suspension for failing a drugs test.
Just two years ago, Hardaker was flying high in his rugby league career when he was named the Man of Steel and just this year, he was named in the Super League’s Dream Team.
Although the exact nature of the explicit substance itself has not been confirmed, the Rugby Football League issued a statement on the matter.
“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,” the statement read.
“He will therefore not be considered for the England Rugby League World Cup squad due to be announced today (Monday) at 12 pm.”
His current club, the Castleford Tigers, also issued a statement on the matter.
“The club was made aware at 10 am on Thursday morning that the player would receive official written notification from UK Anti-Doping and therefore the player was immediately suspended,” the club statement read.Official notification was delivered on Friday and following discussions with the player on Sunday the decision was taken to announce the result of the test today in order to clarify the circumstances around Zak’s omission.”
“Official notification was delivered on Friday and following discussions with the player on Sunday the decision was taken to announce the result of the test today in order to clarify the circumstances around Zak’s omission.”
Hardaker released his own statement apologising for the incident and the trouble and negativity it had brought on himself, his club and the Super League.
“I would like to apologise to my Castleford Tigers teammates, the staff and all fans for my enormous error of judgment,” said Hardaker.
“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.”
Hardaker was insistent that he would never take any substance to actively improve or enhance his performance.
“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,” he said.