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Karmichael Hunt eager to repay 'second chance' after signing with Waratahs

Karmichael Hunt has been sleeping in NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson's garage and says he's keenly aware how fortunate he is.

The Waratahs yesterday announced they've signed Hunt to one-season Super Rugby deal after he was forced out of the Queensland Reds because of his chequered history.

"It's tattooed on the back of my mind, this is my last chance," 32-year-old Hunt told reporters.

"I'm not looking at it from a pessimistic point of view, I'm looking at it from a view that I'm very grateful and I look forward to repaying not only Daryl but the supporters and my teammates who have welcomed me like one of my brothers already."

After six Tests for the Wallabies, Hunt was overlooked by Australian coach Michael Cheika last year after Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn refused to select him in the 2018 Super Rugby season following a second drug-related incident.

Hunt said he had worked diligently to address his off-field issues after he was arrested on drugs charges in December 2017 shortly after signing a new $1 million, two-year contract with Rugby Australia and the Reds.

Cocaine charges were dropped because of a lack of evidence however he pleaded guilty to possessing Xanax.

He was fined $10,000 and banned for four games by Rugby Australia, as well as being placed in a 12-month targeted illicit drugs testing program which included regular hair follicle testing.

That came after he had pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in 2015, resulting in him being fined $30,000, suspended for six weeks and stripped of the Reds vice-captaincy.

"First and foremost it's about speaking up and not bottling things up and trying to cop things on the chin and hide things," Hunt said.

"That type of behaviour, while it might be good on the football field if you're a bit hurt and trying to lead your team around the park, it eats away at you on the inside."

Hunt refused to take a parting shot at Thorn and the Reds but said it took until after his stint in the National Rugby Championship for him to be told that he wouldn't be selected by them in 2019.

Since arriving in Sydney, he has been sleeping on a bunk bed in Gibson's garage but will move out when his wife and three children arrive over the coming weeks

Gibson said Hunt, who he saw as slotting in at centre or fullback, had been sent a clear message about the standards of behaviour expected of him.

"We're offering him a second chance, he knows that," Gibson said.

"He's in a very privileged position that he's been given."

Karmichael Hunt (Australian Wallabies) PHOTO SMPIMAGES.COM / www.photosport.nz  - Action from the Rugby Union Interntional  between the Australian Wallabies V Italy played at Suncorp Stadium  June 24, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.
Wallabies back Karmichael Hunt. Source: Photosport


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