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Rugby ace Zak Hardaker aims to break down barriers with support for LGBT team

England international Zak Hardaker, who was caught on camera making a homophobic comment to a referee, has given coaching sessions to the Manchester Canalsiders - the world's first Rugby League team for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

A dark shadow was cast over the sport when Hardaker was heard calling a referee an offensive term during a live, televised Super League match against Warrington.

The player served a five match ban for his outburst.

But the decision to travel to Manchester to coach the Canalsiders was his own.

Zak with members of the Canalsiders.
Zak with members of the Canalsiders.
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Been a great afternoon with the Canalsiders arlc, good training session and fun night.. And some cracking selfies ?

The Manchester Canalsiders are the world's first Rugby League team for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.
The Manchester Canalsiders are the world's first Rugby League team for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

"It was a heat of the moment thing, I didn't mean any offence and I'm sorry if any was caused by it."

– Zak Hardaker on his offensive comment.
Leeds Rhinos and England international Zak Hardaker joins the Canalsiders for training.
The Manchester Canalsiders are the world's first Rugby League team for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

"For him to come here and say he's proud to come and work with this club, has been invaluable for us."

– Stan Sandland, Manchester Canalsiders.

Rugby star's lesson on dangers of homophobia

A rugby League star who was punished for using a homophobic comment to a referee during a televised game has held a coaching session with the world's first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rugby League club in Manchester. Leeds Rhinos player Zak Hardaker was given a five-match ban after being found guilty of homophobic abuse after his side's defeat to Warrington. The player said he'd learnt his lesson from the experience and took the training session to show he isn't homophobic.

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