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Super League: Zak Hardaker, Jamie Peacock and Jay Pitts face RFL charges

Last Updated: 09/06/14 7:56pm

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Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker faces a ban of up to eight matches after being charged over allegations of a homophobic comment during a recent Super League match.

The Rugby Football League launched an investigation into comments the 22-year-old England international made during the Rhinos' 24-6 defeat at Warrington 10 days ago.

"I have complied fully with the RFL's investigation, never looked to deny what I said and will accept their judgement."
Zak Hardaker

Hardaker, who last week issued an apology for his comments, will appear in front of the RFL's disciplinary committee on Tuesday after its match-review panel ruled there was sufficient evidence to charge him.

The player is facing a grade E offence of "using verbal abuse based on race, colour, religion, gender, sexual preference, national or ethnic origin", which carries a ban of between four and eight matches.

In Hardaker's apology, he admitted using inappropriate language and insisted his comments were aimed at Warrington captain Michael Monaghan, rather than referee James Child, which appeared to be the case.

"I have complied fully with the RFL's investigation, never looked to deny what I said and will accept their judgement," Hardaker said in his statement.

Hardaker, who was thrown out of England's World Cup squad after a breach of discipline last November, has missed just one match for his club in the last 14 months but could be in danger of sitting out a large majority of the second half of the season.

History

Former Wakefield hooker Tevita Leo-Latu was banned for six matches in 2007 for making a racist comment towards Warrington winger Kevin Penny, while Castleford were fined £40,000, which was later halved on appeal, in 2010 after a section of their fans made homophobic chants at openly-gay player Gareth Thomas.

The Tigers were found guilty of unacceptable behaviour, of breaching the RFL's Respect Policy, of misconduct by their supporters and of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the sport.

Meanwhile, Hardaker's Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock is also facing the threat of a suspension following his sin-binning during the Rhinos' 25-12 Challenge Cup quarter-final triumph over Leigh Centurions.

Peacock was shown a yellow card after coming to blows with Leigh forward Matt Sarsfield and has been charged with a grade B offence, which could see him banned for one or two matches.

Bradford forward Jay Pitts, who is on loan from Hull, is also facing a grade B charge of a dangerous throw on Warrington prop Anthony England during his side's 46-10 Cup defeat by the Wolves.

Peacock and Pitts have until 11.00am on Tuesday to submit early-guilty pleas and avoid a hearing and the match-review panel also issued cautions to Bradford's Dannyl Addy and Kurt Haggerty of Leigh.

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