James Slipper has been named in the Queensland Country squad.
James Slipper has been named in the Queensland Country squad.

Slipper may find it tough to regain Reds spot

FORMER Wallabies prop James Slipper is making encouraging progress towards repairing his mental health yet the road to resuming his Reds career appears blocked.

Queensland coach Brad Thorn's zero-tolerance stance on drugs means Slipper's two positive tests for cocaine this year remain a bar on a possible return.

Slipper revealed he had been "suffering wellness issues including depression for a year" after the rugby community was stunned by last month's cocaine bombshell.

Slipper's two-month ineligibility, after two positive out-of-competition tests, took into account "very significant personal issues", according to Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle.

The former Reds captain has been receiving professional assistance for his mental health.

His stand-down period finishes late next month after the Reds have played their final three games of the year.

Recovering his health remains the top priority and sources indicate there has not yet been a discussion with the Reds on how or if his 104-game career can be reignited.

James Slipper says he is expected to make a speedy recovery from his issues. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
James Slipper says he is expected to make a speedy recovery from his issues. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Slipper's remorse after being caught was clear: "In no way do my personal circumstances excuse my actions but I recognise now that I was not coping.

"There is no place for illicit drugs in sport."

Thorn was just as clear in his initial public comments on the matter after the Reds-Highlanders clash last month.

"Slips has been struggling with some stuff and there is compassion around that," Thorn said.

"The other side of that is cocaine … you can't have that.

"For me, I don't want to let down those mums and dads (of rugby players) and the young guys (at the Reds)."


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