• Rugby League

Hardaker withdraws from England squad

ESPN staff
November 4, 2013
No replacement has been called up for Zak Hardaker © Getty Images

Zak Hardaker has withdrawn from the England Rugby League World Cup squad due to "personal issues".

Hardarker did not feature in either of England's first two Group A games, while coach Steve McNamara cited illness as the reason the Leeds Rhinos full-back missed the 42-0 win over Ireland on Saturday.

The 22-year-old is the second player to leave the squad after Gareth Hock was cut for disciplinary reasons.

A statement on the England Rugby League official website read: "Due to personal issues, Zak Hardaker is unable to commit to the England Rugby League programme and has informed the England RL Management Team that he wishes to withdraw from the squad and will not play any further part in the Rugby League World Cup 2013.

"No replacements have been called up. England Rugby League will work with Zak's club, Leeds Rhinos, to support him during this period. Zak requests that the media respects his privacy at this time. The matter is now closed."

England lost their opening World Cup fixture to Australia. They next face Fiji at the KC Stadium on November 9.

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