Rugby League World Cup: England out of order to drop me for missing team swim, says Gareth Hock

30-year-old livid after he is kicked out of tournament for oversleeping after late-night drink

Disgraced England star Gareth Hock said last night he has been unfairly treated over the incident that saw him kicked out of the World Cup.

Hock was sent home from the squad's camp at Loughborough after he and a group of other players broke a curfew to go out for a drink. No announcement has been made about any punishment being handed out to the other culprits.

The 30-year-old admits he was the only player to oversleep and miss a rehab session the next morning. But the former Wigan second-rower, who spent all of last season on loan at Widnes, added: "There were six or seven of us and we all did the same thing. For missing a 10-minute swim – I think it's out of order really.

"I'm really gutted, as I was looking forward to playing in the World Cup. I know people will be thinking the worst, but that was the only thing that happened."

Hock admitted he and his team-mates were in breach of team rules, "but we were disappointed after the Italy game and had a few drinks".

That 15-14 friendly defeat to the Italians was the start of what has been a horrible week for England coach Steve McNamara and his squad. With a daunting first tournament fixture against Australia looming at Cardiff on Saturday, the last thing he needed was a disciplinary problem. Although no other players have been named, there will now be several going into the game at the Millennium Stadium under a cloud.

As for Hock, he has surely run out of last chances. There is no questioning his ability, but his career now looks like a long series of self- destructive decisions. In 2009 he served a two-year suspension after testing positive for cocaine. Wigan stood by him through that, although he demanded a move when he returned to action and was loaned out to Widnes. There he added to an on-field case-load that included a gouging charge and man-handling a referee.

Under the circumstances, a contract with the Australian club Parramatta looked like a fresh start, but he reneged on that and will now play for Salford next season.

The signs since this England escapade are that the Red Devils will stand by him. Tweets from their owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, back Hock's claim he has been harshly treated.

The forward would have been a likely first choice for the game against Australia, his combination of fierce running and tackling – along with a high degree of skill – an increasingly rare entity in the British game. This week has underlined, however, that he is a high-risk selection – on and off the field.

Huddersfield's Brett Ferres has been brought into the England squad as a replacement, but Sean O'Loughlin or Ben Westwood – or possibly both – are more likely to come into the team for the Australia clash.

Sonny Bill Williams, the cross-code super star who will play for New Zealand in their match against Samoa on Sunday, has been comparing the two rugby world cups, after winning the union version with the All Blacks in 2011. "It's probably not as big," he said of the league equivalent. "Union is a bigger sport globally, though I believe league is a lot tougher."

It certainly just got tougher for England with Hock's indiscipline denting their hopes.

* Meanwhile, a meeting to discuss the re-structuring of Super League had to be abandoned when representatives from six clubs walked out.

Hock in the dock: Forward's foul play

July 2008

Banned for five games and fined £500 after grabbing referee Ian Smith in his Wigan side's defeat by Huddersfield – his second suspension of that year. He was banned for one match for punching Bradford's Terry Newton in April.

August 2009

Suspended for two years after two of his urine samples tested positive for cocaine. His samples contained traces of a cocaine metabolite after a match with Salford in June.

September 2011

Handed five-match suspension for gouging during a defeat by Warrington. He was also given a one-match ban for punching Warrington forward Ben Harrison and fined £300.

May 2013

Hit with a four-match ban and fined £300 for making deliberate contact with referee George Stokes in Widnes' victory over Workington.

October 2013

Removed from England squad for World Cup for breaking curfew to go out for a drink, deemed a "serious breach of team discipline".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...