Waratahs sign Karmichael Hunt on 1-year deal

January 21, 2019

SYDNEY (AP) — The New South Wales Waratahs have thrown former Wallabies fullback Karmichael Hunt a career lifeline by signing him on a one-year Super Rugby contract.

Hunt, who has played six tests for Australia, played no Super Rugby last season after being shunned by Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn over his second arrest on drug-related matters. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika followed Thorn in declining to select the former rugby league and Australian Rules star.

Hunt said his year away from rugby had allowed him to “reassess why I was making bad decisions” and he told reporters “it means a lot me that (coach) Daryl (Gibson) and the Waratahs have decided to give me another go, I’m ready to take this opportunity with both hands.”

Hunt said “I’m always the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes. But the time away from the sport has been the most important thing that has happened to me.

“Spending most of last year away from rugby allowed me to recuperate physically and mentally. Now I’m ready for this new opportunity, I’m feeling better than ever and fresher than I’ve felt in years.”

Hunt pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in 2015. He was arrested in December 2017 on suspicion of cocaine possession but the charges were later dropped with a lack of evidence.

He was sanctioned by Rugby Australia which put him on a 12-month illicit drug testing program.

Gibson said the decision to sign Hunt “is one that as a team and a business, we have not taken lightly.”

“We have made an informed decision after completing a thorough process by not only speaking with Karmichael, but also his family, his teammates and broader support network, as well as consulting our own staff, board, players, and extended support team.

“Karmichael has been very open and genuine with us about his off-field issues.”