James Slipper has been suspended for two months and fined A$27,500 (R259,000) after twice testing positive for cocaine this season.
Slipper has been the stand-in Reds captain in 2018 in the absence of Scott Higginbotham. The prop has 86 Test caps, the last of which came at the end of 2016.
‘Last week I was advised by our integrity unit that one of our Wallabies and Queensland Reds players, James Slipper, had returned a positive test for cocaine,’ Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told reporters.
‘Under Rugby Australia’s illicit drugs policy, the first instance of a positive test remains confidential between the player, the Rugby Australia integrity unit and medical staff.
‘James recorded his first positive test for cocaine in February. Earlier this month, James returned a second positive test. A second violation attracts a mandatory period of ineligibility and is referred to a drugs tribunal for consideration.
‘The tribunal has now submitted its written determination to Rugby Australia, ordering James to undertake the mandatory minimum period of ineligibility of two months, and pay a fine of $27,500.
‘We are extremely disappointed to be in this position today with one of our most senior international players having submitted two positive tests for cocaine.
‘We are fully aware that James is dealing with very significant personal issues and we have been working with him since February on these matters. We are ensuring that James is receiving full help and support, including specialist medical treatment.’
Slipper said in a statement that he had been suffering from depression and was receiving medical help.
‘In no way do my personal circumstances excuse my actions, but I recognise now that I was not coping and that I need to properly address these wellness issues. I take full responsibility for my actions and apologise unreservedly to my family, the QRU, Rugby Australia, my teammates, coaches and all rugby supporters.
‘There is no place for illicit drugs in sport.’
— James Slipper (@JamesSlipper) May 24, 2018
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images