Karmichael Hunt will make his return to rugby this weekend thanks to the intervention of Quade Cooper.
Hunt is set to line up for Brisbane club side Souths, it will be the first time he’s played since he was arrested in December last year.
A charge of illicit drug possession was dropped in February but Hunt pleaded guilty on separate charges of possessing a dangerous drug (Alprazolam) and contravening a police direction and was fined 300 Australian dollars for each offence.
Rugby Australia said at the time it was “a low-level breach” of the organisation’s player code of conduct and fined Hunt 10,000 AUD and handed him a four-match suspension, while he was placed on an illicit drug testing program for 12 months and will participate in any drug treatment and education programs deemed necessary by RA.
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“Looking forward to lacing up the boots again for @SouthsRugby!” Hunt said on Twitter.
Quade Cooper responded with “Welcome to the nest. Im sure you will receive all the help, support & love that the family at @SouthsRugby has provided me. ?”
Hunt had been free to return to rugby for a few months but has been left on the sidelines by Queensland Reds head coach Brad Thorn, who has also made Cooper surplus to requirements.
Souths president Tony Shepley revealed that Cooper approached the club to offer “assistance” to Hunt.
In a letter to members of the club Shepley added “Karmichael has essentially been in isolation and unable to play rugby for some time now. That is potentially not a good thing for someone who has been involved in team sport for as long as he has.”
“It was put to us that for his own wellbeing he be given an opportunity to redeem himself on and off the field. He has to be involved in a club and playing rugby somewhere to do that.
“I think as a club we are about providing those kinds of opportunities to whoever has need for them and not about kicking someone when they are down.”
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