Wigan set to stand by new signing Zak Hardaker after drink driving conviction

Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker

Wigan are to stand by new signing Zak Hardaker but say he must undergo a "period of treatment for his relationship with alcohol" in the wake of his drink driving conviction.

Hardaker, who has yet to play for the Warriors while he serves a ban for cocaine use, was last week given a 20-month driving ban after what the District Judge told him was an "amateurish attempt" to evade police officers while two times over the limit.

It was the latest misdemeanour from a player who has found bad press hard to shake and there were fears it could affect his new employment, after Castleford sacked him in the wake of his cocaine use.

"Firstly, I'd like to make clear that we are extremely disappointed with Zak's actions on the evening of the 26th September," Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan said in a statement. Drink driving is completely unacceptable, and we are pleased the matter has been dealt with by the courts so firmly. Nonetheless, we have thought long and hard about what the correct thing to do is for Wigan.

"It would be easy for us to cut our losses with Zak and deny him the opportunity to play for Wigan but we are not going to do that. Our duty of care as employers is to help Zak address the fundamental problems that he has had for some time - issues that we believe could and should have been confronted already.

"Zak will enter a residential facility in the coming weeks and how he commits during this course will not only define his rugby career but potentially set him on a more productive path for the rest of his life."

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