Sydney - Reds back Karmichael Hunt has been stood down for this weekend's Super Rugby match after being summoned to court to face allegations of supplying cocaine, the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) said on Friday.
The 28-year-old, a potential Wallabies bolter for this year's World Cup, was one of four people given notice on Thursday by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (QCCC) to appear in court on March 5.
Hunt, a high-profile acquisition for this season from Australian Rules team the Gold Coast Suns, will now miss Saturday's match against the Western Force in Brisbane, even if it does not fall victim to Cyclone Marcia.
"It has been determined by QRU, ARU and the Rugby Union Players' Association and after discussion with Karmichael that it would be best for his welfare that he is not available for selection this weekend," a QRU statement read.
One of the best known athletes in the country after his previous careers as a rugby league international and in the indigenous football code, Hunt has played just one Super Rugby match since joining the Reds at the start of this year.
A QCCC statement released on Friday alleged that the four people summoned to court "arranged for the supply of cocaine for personal use or to on-supply cocaine to friends and colleagues between June and December 2014".
In their statement, the QRU said the alleged offences had actually occurred between September 1 and October 3, 2014 - before he started training with the Reds in late November.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) will be keen to avoid any more negative publicity for the game after the protracted Kurtley Beale text messaging saga last year, which led to the resignation of Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
The rugby union career of Wendell Sailor, another code-hopper who played for the Wallabies at the 2003 World Cup, was effectively ended after he tested positive for cocaine in 2006 and was banned from the sport for two years.
Saturday's match between the Reds and Force in Brisbane is scheduled to kick off at 10:40 (SA time).
15 TBA, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Tom Murday, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Campbell Magnay
15 Zack Holmes, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Francois van Wyk
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Mitchell Scott