Leeds Rhinos await further update on health of Zak Hardaker

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington says Zak Hardaker’s health is the Rhinos’ “only concern” after the first outing of his second spell there was delayed following a seizure suffered by the 30-year-old last Tuesday.

The England and Great Britain international is being supported by the club and their medical staff, who have arranged a series of tests, after Hardaker collapsed while walking with his young son.
He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, before being allowed home.

Fullback Hardaker had trained with his new team-mates before the incident, which came the day after Leeds confirmed they had signed him for a second time on a deal until the end of the season following his release by Wigan three days earlier.

The former Featherstone and Castleford star, who had a short stint in the NRL with Penrith on loan from Leeds in 2016, had been in line to feature in Friday’s home Super League clash with Hull KR.

In his first stint with Leeds, from 2011 until 2016, he helped the club win three Grand Finals and was named Man of Steel in their treble-winning season in 2015.

“Our only concern is Zak’s health,” said Hetherington.

“We will provide him and his family with whatever support is required.”

Jamie Jones-Buchanan, in interim control since Richard Agar stood down as coach in mid-March and in charge for the sixth match against Hull KR, who were beaten 12-0, pending the arrival of new coach Rohan Smith from Australia, says Hardaker could yet play in Leeds’ next game, away to Salford on Sunday week, May 15.

“I hope the tests come back clear, and from what we’re hearing, they are pretty good and everything seems alright,” he said.

“Maybe he could be right for the next game. We have a little break now because of the Challenge Cup (semi-finals).

“But ultimately we have to have a conversation with doctors to make sure everything is absolutely fine for him to go and play rugby.

“There’s a lot of the season still to be played, and he’ll make some big contributions, I’m sure.”

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