Former Highlanders, Southland flanker suspended for alleged cocaine use

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Source:

NZN

The Edinburgh rugby club has suspended New Zealander John Hardie for three months over alleged cocaine use.

Former Southland skipper John Hardie.

Former Southland skipper John Hardie.

Source: Photosport

The club says the penalty is for gross misconduct after it carried out an internal investigation.

"I would like to apologise to everyone for putting myself in this situation," Hardie said in a statement.

"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."

An Edinburgh Rugby spokesman says the club was not prepared to tolerate the behaviour which caused the situation.

Hardie's suspension will be back-dated to October, when he was initially suspended, meaning he may return to playing by mid-January.

Openside flanker Hardie, 29, left for Scotland in 2015 after playing for Southland and the Highlanders.

He qualified for Scotland through ancestry, made his Test debut at the 2015 World Cup and has earned 16 Tests.

However, he was omitted from the Scotland squad in October when reports emerged he was being investigated for cocaine use.

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