Warriors ace Hardaker hit by 'extra' suspension

Zak Hardaker’s England’s hopes have been wiped out by Wigan’s postponed match this weekend – even though he will still serve his two-game ban BEFORE Shaun Wane’s national side play against the All Stars.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:48 pm
Zak Hardaker

The Wigan full-back was handed the suspension for headbutting Sam Tomkins in their 48-0 loss at Catalans last month.

They had no game last weekend owing to the Challenge Cup and, with Friday night’s clash at Huddersfield postponed due to Covid-19 cases at the Giants, he has yet to start his ban.

Wigan host Hull KR next Friday, and six days later travel to Wakefield (June 24).

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England then face an All Stars line-up the following day (25th). But he will not be able to take part in the mid-season international due to the current rules, an RFL spokesman confirmed.

Under normal circumstances, a player picked to represent England on the Friday wouldn’t play for their club the previous day.

The same rules prevents a player using a reserve or academy fixture to count towards a suspension if the first team are playing later that weekend.

Of course, there were no guarantees Hardaker would have been included in Wane’s side. But this ruling means the 29-year-old – who was in great form earlier this year – will now have to wait until at least this autumn before getting the chance to pull on the England shirt.

The All Stars, coached by Tim Sheens, will be drawn from Super League’s overseas players as well as other home nations, France and Jamaica.

An agreement has been reached that between them, the England and All Stars take no more than six players from any one club.

But with Hardaker and Tony Clubb suspended – as well as Bevan French and Jai Field injured long-term – it raises the prospect of Lam’s squad being stretched for the trip to Wakefield on the 24th.

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