Veteran Wallaby stood down after being busted for cocaine
VETERAN Wallaby James Slipper has been stood down from rugby for two months and fined $27,500 after twice testing positive for cocaine.
Slipper says he has been battling depression for the last year.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle revealed the news at a snap news conference in Sydney.
Castle said police were not involved in the matter.
Slipper returned two positive tests for cocaine taken from urine samples between February and May this year.
"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," 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."
Slipper did not attend the press conference but issued a statement on Twitter.
"It is with great regret that I feel it necessary to explain recent events," Slipper said.
"Unfortunately, I am unfit to personally address these issues today.
"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."
Slipper is a former Reds captain and has played 86 Tests for the Wallabies - including one as skipper.
He did not play for the Reds against the Hurricanes last week with the Queensland Rugby Union stating he was not considered for selection for "welfare reasons."
The 28-year-old was likely to be named in the Wallabies squad to play Ireland next week.
"The advice is that I will make a speedy and total recovery," Slipper said.
"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.
"Recently, I breached the illicit drugs policy of Rugby Australia and as a consequence, have been stood down from playing rugby for a two month period and have also received a fine.
"I take full responsibility for my actions and apologise unreservedly to my family, the QRU, Rugby Australia, my teammates, coaches and all rugby supporters.
"I'd like to thank everyone who has continued to support me in this most difficult time and I fully intend to be a better, more well adjusted person.
"There is no place for illicit drugs in sport.
"I ask that you respect my privacy at this time until I'm ready to comment publicly."
JAMES SLIPPER FACT FILE
Super Rugby caps: 104 including 40 as captain
2011 Super Rugby Winner
Wallabies caps: 86 including one as captain
Member of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup squads
Made his Test debut against England in 2010 in Perth