Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has warned that Karmichael Hunt's repeated off-field lapses could jeopardise his future in rugby after he was arrested for alleged cocaine possession in December.
Hunt, who signed a two-year deal with the Rugby Australia and the Reds in November, will face the Brisbane Magistrate Court on January 29 charged with two counts of drug possession.
On her first day in the job, Castle said that a final decision on Hunt's future in rugby was on hold until the legal process was completed but said that his past history will be taken into account should the Wallaby star be found guilty. In 2015 Hunt was suspended for six weeks and fined $30,000 by Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds after he pleaded guilty to four counts of cocaine possession. He was fined $2500 by the courts but had no conviction recorded.
"We're at a stage where we've agreed with Karmichael and the Reds that he will stand down and not be involved, and until we really get the final feedback from the police and also from the court date which is late January we really can't do anymore, so we are in a little bit of a holding pattern at the moment," Castle said.
"I think that, the reality is for young athlete's there's a chance to make a mistake and be forgiven for that, but if you keep making mistakes that makes the conversation much more challenging, so if it is we'll go through that process."
Following star fullback Israel Folau's break from international rugby in November, Castle said that future sabbaticals for the code's top players is something she will consider.
"I think if you look at what a professional athlete's lifespan looks like, and if you take someone who starts maybe in their early 20s and has an international career which is potentially 10 or 12, 15 years long, you know you can argue that a sabbatical is the right thing for a mature athlete who has earned their stripes and has proven to the public and so to Rugby Australia that they are an athlete that we would look at going forward," she said.