Warriors hope on Hock
Forward could gain dispensation to return to training early
Last Updated: 29/03/11 5:53pm
Hock: Training early?
Gareth Hock could be back in Wigan Warriors training two months before his drugs ban expires.
The Super League champions are making efforts to get the England international in shape as he prepares to return to the sport after nearly two years out.
The 27-year-old second row forward is suspended until June 23 after testing positive for cocaine in 2009, but Wigan are being given the chance to present their case to a sports barrister in London next week.
Under the terms of his two-year ban, Hock was forced to sever all contact with Wigan, although he has been keeping himself fit under the guidance of a personal trainer.
At Wigan's request, a consultation has been arranged by the Rugby Football League, in conjunction with UK Anti-Doping and the World Anti-Doping Agency, who say they will raise no objection if Adam Lewis QC rules there is nothing to be gained from preventing the player from making an early return to training.
The meeting is set to take place on Tuesday, with a non-binding verdict expected within seven days.
The Warriors are using a precedent set in football to try to get Hock back into the fold, arguing that in team sports it is harder for players to get back up to speed once they have served their suspensions than for those from individual sports such as athletics.
If Wigan are successful, Hock could spend more than two months in camp before his playing ban expires 24 hours before his club's home game against Huddersfield on June 24.
Hock failed a test for Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, after Wigan's win over Salford on June 5, 2009 and his last match was for England in their mid-season international against France in Paris a week later.
He watched Wigan's 24-6 home defeat by Warrington last Friday night from the directors' box and his presence next to chairman Ian Lenagan sent a clear message that he will be welcomed back.
Wigan are thought to have prepared a new contract for Hock, having been impressed by his conduct during his suspension.