Rugby League World Cup: Gareth Hock dropped for 'series of breaches' after he was believed to have missed training

A statement said Hock's behaviour had 'fallen below the strict code of conduct' and has been dropped just four days before England face Australia in the tournament opener

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The Independent Online

Disgraced England forward Gareth Hock failed to turn up for the squad's camp in Loughborough, Press Association Sport understands.

The 30-year-old second rower was on Tuesday night sensationally despatched from England's World Cup campaign for what the management called a "series of breaches" of team discipline.

The bombshell news came just three days after England's humiliating defeat by minnows Italy in a friendly and four days before their World Cup opener against tournament favourites Australia at the Millennium Stadium.

Steve McNamara's squad regrouped at their Loughborough University base on Monday night but it is understood Hock was absent.

In a statement, England say the player's discipline had "fallen below the strict code of conduct as agreed by team management".

England were on Wednesday refusing to elaborate on the circumstances behind Hock's sacking but it is understood to be alcohol-related and the latest in a series of lapses by the former Wigan player.

Hock received support from Dr Marwan Koukash, the owner of Salford who recently signed the player on a three-year contract from 2014 and pledged to stand by him.

Koukash tweeted on Tuesday night: "Spoke to Gaz and to the RFL. Full facts will come out tomorrow and till then, do not make your own assumptions of what happened."

The Salford chairman added: "I once went out with lads for few drinks, overslept in the morning, missed work, got fined but not sacked from my job."

Koukash on Wednesday morning confirmed to Press Association Sport that remains supportive of his new signing.

"Gaz will speak today," Koukash told Press Association Sport.

"The decision has been made and (we) have to respect it."

While Hock's club future appears assured, his international career looks to be over.

He served a two-year ban in 2009 after testing positive for cocaine, just days after playing for England against France.

Wigan stood by him, even extending his contract to the end of 2015, and Hock regained his England spot for the 2012 autumn international series.

But he fell out with Wigan coach Shaun Wane during the close season and spent the whole of 2013 on loan to Widnes.

Hock signed a two-year contract with Australian club Parramatta in May but pulled out of the move and instead joined Salford.

His place in England's 24-strong squad has gone to Huddersfield second rower Brett Ferres, who was on stand-by after an impressive season for the Super League table-toppers.