Hardaker to captain Rhinos

Zak Hardaker will captain Leeds in their Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield, less than two months after quitting England‘s World Cup squad.

Hardaker, 22, cited personal reasons for his withdrawal, and was reprimanded by his club, as well as being put through his paces with an immediate return to pre-season training.

Head Coach Brian McDermott said: “Zak has been through some tough times, of his own making, but his attitude since then has been first rate. I can not praise him enough for how he has dealt with that lesson and the determination that he has shown to put things right. 

“What happened with England and the World Cup is something I am sure he will always regret however all he can do now is learn from that experience and he is certainly doing that. 

“As a club, we took action against him and he has never once complained or whinged about the situation. At the end of a long season, he had a holiday booked but he was told to cancel that and start pre-season training. Mentally that is a challenge for anyone, but especially a young lad, and he has dealt with it well.”

Hardaker will line-up alongside Liam Sutcliffe in the halves for the game at Headingley, which kicks off at 11.30am.

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