Great Britain fullback Zak Hardaker has revealed he and teammates drank for “three days solid” after his last England cap against Samoa in Australia in May 2017, report The Telegraph.
Hardaker was an unexpected inclusion in Wayne Bennett’s 24-man Lions squad for the four-game tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, having not been named as part of the GB Elite Performance Squad earlier this year.
Despite his undeniable ability on the pitch, Hardaker’s career has always been marred by off-field controversies, including an assault on a Leeds student, a drink driving ban and a 14-month suspension for testing positive for cocaine.
The 27-year-old entered the Sporting Chance rehabilitation clinic following his discretions and insists he will be a different person this time round compared to his last international tour.
“In 2017, I finished the game and I think I drank for three days solid afterwards,” he told top rugby league journalist Ross Heppenstall. “It wasn’t just me, there were about 13 other lads. We went straight through drinking – drinking on the plane and then drinking when we got home.
“We started in Sydney and finished in Manchester. I went straight through – drinking in Sydney, drinking to the airport, free drinks in the airport and then on the 24-hour flight back home.
“Some of the lads even went into Manchester straight after landing. But that’s not what I’d do now. It’s always a work in progress, it still will be when I’m 80 years old.
“I’ve had a drink this year but it’s not been a big deal. I’ve not been getting home at 6am or anything. It’s been about choosing the right time or right place.
“I’ve just been really clued up. I’ve now got all the tools to make sure I’m alright – I’ve probably had two nights out all year and I’ve been home at 12. There’s nothing to worry about with me.”
The squad includes several younger players, such as Castleford’s Jake Trueman and
With several uncapped players included in the squad, Hardaker is one of the more experienced members, and says that he is embracing that responsibility.
He added: “Through my experiences on and off the pitch, good and bad, I’m equipped with knowledge and maybe advice if anyone wants to talk to me. I’d like to think I’m a comfortable guy to talk to.”