On This Day in 2018: Zak Hardaker banned for 14 months after failed drugs test

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PA Sport Staff
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Former Castleford full-back Zak Hardaker was banned for 14 months by UK Anti-Doping for failing a drugs test on this day in 2018.

The 26-year-old did not appeal against the punishment, which was backdated to September 2017 when he tested positive for cocaine following a Super 8s game against Leeds.

During February 2018, Castleford announced Hardaker had been sacked with four years left on his contract.

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The Tigers initially suspended Hardaker after dropping the England international for the Super League Grand Final against Leeds, the club he left for Castleford on a loan deal in 2016 ahead of a permanent switch.

The decision by UKAD meant Hardaker, named Man of Steel in 2015, was free to join a new club and start playing again in November 2018.

In May 2018, Hardaker signed for Wigan on a four-year deal – and was warned by club chairman Ian Lenagan he could not afford any more controversies.

However, in October 2018 Hardaker was convicted for drink driving, fined £1,810 and given a 20-month ban from driving after it was revealed he was more than two times over the limit.

Wigan agreed with the full-back he should undergo a period of treatment for his relationship with alcohol through the Sporting Chance Clinic.

Hardaker – who was thrown out of the 2013 World Cup for a breach of discipline and also punished for homophobic abuse during 2014 – remained determined to put his career back on track.

Wigan Warriors player Zak Hardaker scores a try
Zak Hardaker has looked to rebuild his career at Wigan (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I’d like to wholeheartedly apologise for my actions,” he said at the time of his drink driving conviction at Leeds Magistrates Court.

“The first thing I need to accept is that I have a problem and I’ll be throwing all my efforts into sorting that out.

“My sole focus now is confronting the issues that have stopped me becoming the player and person I’d like to be.”