1. ITV Report

Hardaker apologises for making 'an enormous error of judgement' after failing drugs test

Castleford player Zak Hardaker has apologised for making "an enormous error of judgement". Photo: Press Association

Castleford player Zak Hardaker has apologised for making "an enormous error of judgement" after failing a drugs test, in a statement on the Super League club's website.

The full-back has been provisionally suspended for testing positive for a "banned substance" and will not be included in England's squad for the World Cup.

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.

– Zak Hardaker

He added: "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."

A Rugby Football League Spokesperson 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 at 12pm.

– Rugby Football League Spokesperson

Hardaker was dropped by Castleford for Saturday's Grand Final against his former club Leeds for what the Tigers said was a breach of club rules.

However, Castleford captain Michael Shenton refused to blame the absence of Zak Hardaker for his team's worst performance of the season as they crashed to a 24-6 defeat to Leeds in their maiden Grand Final.