Wigan Warriors ace suspended for breaching Covid-19 protocols - but too late to stop him facing Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity

A ban on Wigan Warriors’ Jackson Hastings for breaching coronavirus protocols came too late to prevent him playing against Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos.

Monday, 24th August 2020, 12:22 pm
Jackson Hastings and Liam Farrell team up to halt Rhinos' Matt Prior in the game on August 16.

Hastings is among three Betfred Super League players to have been sanctioned in the last week, following an addition to the Rugby Football League's operational rules in response to the current “exceptional” situation.

The RFL have revealed the half-back’s transgression took place on August 7, triggering a two-week suspension, but only came to light in recent days.

Bans will begin from the date of the transgression, irrespective of when the sanction is imposed.

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Jackson Hastings, left and Liam Farrell tackle Wakefield's Tony Gigot during Wigan's win on August 9. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Details have not been revealed, but Hastings is understood to have been pictured on social media standing next to a person from outside his household, a breach of social-distancing rules.

The governing body have confirmed the standard punishment, for breaches outside of training and matches, will be a 14-day ban from all rugby league activity – including training and games – with fines also to be imposed.

The 14-day period is consistent with the self-isolation period required following close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Hasting’s suspension expired on August 21 so he will not have to miss any games, but he has been fined.

Huddersfield's James Gavet in action against Wigan earlier this season. Picture by Tony Johnson.

The other players are Huddersfield Giants’ James Gavet (transgression August 13, suspension August 14-27) and Riley Dean of Warrington Wolves (transgression August 16, suspension August 17-30).

Wakefield play Warrington on August 30.

The crackdown comes after several Hull players and staff tested positive for coronavirus.

The RFL’s chief regulatory officer Karen Moorhouse said: “Covid protocols were established in the weeks leading up to the resumption of the Betfred Super League season earlier this month, with an emphasis on player education and collective buy-in and with clubs encouraged to agree and enforce their own codes of conduct.

“In the main the protocols have been observed and we are grateful to the majority of clubs and players and other individuals involved for their responsible and disciplined approach.

“However we are in a situation where breaches of the protocols by any individuals connected with the game could have serious repercussions for all – either an impact on individual and public health, or in terms of disruption to the rescheduled fixtures list.

“It is therefore important that appropriate sanctions reflecting the reasons for the regulations are imposed. The ability to enforce a 14-day stand-down reflects this."

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