30 Nov 2017

Hardie cops three month ban from Scotland

7:58 am on 30 November 2017

New Zealand-born Scotland flanker John Hardie has been suspended for three months by Scottish Rugby for alleged cocaine use.

Scotland and Edinburgh flanker John Hardie.

Scotland and Edinburgh flanker John Hardie. Photo: Photosport

The former Highlanders and Southland player was initially stood down by the national body in October, with no reasons given for the move which prevented him from turning out for Scotland or his club side Edinburgh.

Edinburgh released a statement on Thursday (NZ time) confirming a ban for "gross misconduct", which means he won't be available for selection until January.

"John has co-operated with the disciplinary process throughout," a club spokesperson said.

"He has acknowledged the serious mistake he has made as a professional athlete and has accepted full responsibility for his conduct.

"It has been made clear that we are not prepared to tolerate the behaviour which caused this situation.

"Support will be provided to the player by Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby on a personal and professional level throughout the period of his suspension and going forward."

In the same statement, Hardie apologised for his behaviour.

"I would like to apologise to everyone for putting myself in this situation.

"Through my actions I feel I have let my club, my teammates and the fans down. I want to acknowledge the support I have had from Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby in dealing with the issue.

"I am now focused on putting myself in the best possible position to be considered for selection again."

Hardie, who qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandmother, has played 16 tests for the country since he left New Zealand shores in 2015.

The 29-year-old played 65 games for Southland and 53 for the Highlanders.