6 Mar 2018

Hardie back in Scotland side after serving ban

8:55 am on 6 March 2018

The New Zealand rugby player John Hardie has been recalled to the Scotland side after serving a ban.

Scotland and Edinburgh flanker John Hardie.

Scotland and Edinburgh flanker John Hardie. Photo: Photosport

Hardie was suspended in October amid allegations of cocaine use, and subsequently given a three-month ban for "gross misconduct".

But he has been recalled before the Six Nations match with Ireland in Dublin this weekend.

Assistant coach Mike Blair says they would have been foolish to ignore a player of Hardie's calibre.

"When you have a player like that available, it would be silly not to have him on board," said Blair.

"He's a fantastic player. He has a good pedigree and a good history playing with Scotland.

"He's had his time off. He's been helped through that and now he can focus on his rugby."

The New Zealand-born back-rower, who has 16 caps, is one of 10 players added to Gregor Townsend's squad before the trip to Dublin, with experienced campaigners such as Richie Gray, Fraser Brown and Alex Dunbar returning to the fold.

Scotland are coming off a win over England and are third on the table, six points behind unbeaten Ireland.