SYDNEY: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he will consider Karmichael Hunt for selection once the former rugby league and Australian Rules player has completed his six-week ban.
Hunt, who joined the Queensland Reds at the end of last year, was fined A$2,500 ($1,955) by an Australian court on Thursday after pleading guilty to four charges of cocaine possession.
The Australian Rugby Union added an additional $30,000 fine, suspended him for six weeks and ordered him to go into a drug rehab programme.
Hunt, who has played just one Super Rugby game for the Reds at flyhalf, had been included in a meeting for potential Australia squad members for this year’s World Cup earlier this season.
Cheika said Hunt would not be invited to any such meetings during his ban and getting into the squad would be tricky given the amount of games he would miss.
“His disadvantage is going to be that he’s not playing and that’s going to be hard,” Cheika told reporters at Sydney Airport on Friday.
“Once he gets back out on the paddock and he starts having a crack, once he starts playing footy again, and if he’s playing well, we’ll take a look at it then.”
Hunt, one of Australia’s best known sportsmen, told a news conference in Brisbane that he was grateful to Queensland for not sacking him.
“The charges relate to a time where I wasn’t contracted to the Reds,” the New Zealand-born 28-year-old said.
“They could easily have wiped their hands clean and said they didn’t want to have anything to do with it and I appreciate that.
“I can’t repay the faith overnight but I look forward to hopefully repaying the faith over the next couple of years on the field and off the field.”