Wallabies prop and Queensland Reds skipper James Slipper has been suspended by Rugby Australia for two months for testing positive to cocaine.
Slipper returned two positive tests for cocaine taken from urine samples between February and May this year.
Rugby Australia’s policy was that the first instance of a positive test remained confidential and was to be treated as a health and welfare issue, and the player be provided with the appropriate medical support and placed in a target testing pool.
A second violation would attract a mandatory period of ineligibility and be referred to a Drugs Tribunal for consideration.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said she knew that Slipper was experiencing difficulties in his personal life, but that there was no place for illicit drugs in sport.
Along with the suspension Slipper has also been fined $30,000.
“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,” she said.