Hardie’s last game for Edinburgh was their European Challenge Cup win at London Irish on 14 October

Edinburgh and Scotland flanker John Hardie has been handed a three-month suspension by Scottish Rugby for “gross misconduct” over alleged cocaine use.

The ban is “part of a range of sanctions”, running from the date of his initial suspension in mid-October.

He will not be available for selection by Edinburgh until mid-January 2018.

“I would like to apologise to everyone for putting myself in this situation,” said New Zealand-born Hardie, 29, who has won 16 Scotland caps since 2015.

“Through my actions I feel I have let my club, my team-mates and the fans down. I want to acknowledge the support I have had from Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby in dealing with the issue.”

Hardie was unavailable to Scotland for the autumn Tests after news of his initial suspension emerged before head coach Gregor Townsend named his squad.

An Edinburgh Rugby spokesperson said: “John has co-operated with the disciplinary process throughout.

“He has acknowledged the serious mistake he has made as a professional athlete and has accepted full responsibility for his conduct.

“It has been made clear that we are not prepared to tolerate the behaviour which caused this situation.

“Support will be provided to the player by Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby on a personal and professional level throughout the period of his suspension and going forward.”

Hardie made his Scotland debut in August 2015, which preceded him being drafted into their 2015 World Cup squad five weeks after arriving in the country from New Zealand.

A series of injuries, and the form of fellow Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson, have limited Hardie to just three Scotland appearances this year, the last on the summer tour against Fiji.

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