Australia and Reds prop James Slipper has been handed a two-month ban and heavy fine after returning two positive tests for cocaine.
Slipper, 28, tested positive between February and May this year, Rugby Australia (RA) said in a statement on Thursday.
The former Wallabies captain faced a tribunal and was banned for two months and fined 27,500 Australian dollars, the punishment handed down after consideration for “Slipper’s personal circumstances, his service to club and country and previous good character”.
“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,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
“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.
“James has expressed his sincere remorse for his actions and for placing himself, Rugby Australia and the Reds in this very difficult situation.
“It is an incredibly challenging time for him and his family and our immediate focus is on James’ health and wellbeing while he undertakes an enforced period away from the sport.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Slipper apologised and revealed he was battling depression.
— James Slipper (@JamesSlipper) May 24, 2018
“It is with great regret that I feel it necessary to explain recent events. Unfortunately, I am unfit to personally address these issues today,” he wrote.
“I’m well aware that I will need to address these issues publicly and the questions associated with it and will do so as soon as I’m fit and ready.
“I have been suffering wellness issues including depression for a year and have been receiving professional assistance for the last few months. The advice is that I will make a speedy and total recovery.
“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.”
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta