Castleford Tigers full-back Hardaker says sorry over failed drugs test

Zak Hardaker.
Zak Hardaker.

Castleford Tigers full-back Zak Hardaker has apologised after being provisionally suspended for failing a drugs test.

Hardaker has become the third Super League player to test positive for cocaine use in the last three months.

Zak Hardaker scores against Leeds Rhinos.

Zak Hardaker scores against Leeds Rhinos.

The 2015 Man of Steel failed a test after the Tigers’ game against his old club Leeds on September 8 and has been provisionally suspended by the Rugby Football League.

The former Rhinos star - Man of Steel two years ago and a member of this season’s Dream Team - is now facing a possible lengthy ban from the sport.

The Rugby Football League initially confirmed Hardaker’s provisional suspension on Monday morning.

That was followed by a statement from Tigers, including Hardaker’s apology.

Earlier this season Widnes Vikings’ former Castleford player Rangi Chase and Wakefield Trinity’s Adam Walker were both suspended by their club after testing positive for cocaine.

The RFL statement said: “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.

“He will therefore not be considered for the England Rugby League World Cup squad due to be announced today (Monday) at 12pm.

“The Rugby Football League will be making no further comment until the outcome of the case has been determined.”

Tigers followed up with their own statement.

It said: “The club was made aware at 10am on Thursday morning that the player would receive official written notification from UK Anti-Doping and therefore the player was immediately suspended.

“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 was quoted in the club’s statement saying: “I would like to apologise to my Castleford Tigers teammates, 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.”

Tigers said they will be making no further comment “until the outcome of the case has been determined”.

Cas coach Daryl Powell admitted after the 24-6 loss to Leeds that his side’s Grand Final preparations were disrupted by the loss of Hardaker, though players insisted it was not an excuse for the result.