After testing positive for cocaine
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.
‘‘We are extremely disappointed to be in this position with one of our most senior international players.
‘‘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 tweeted out a statement shortly after, saying he had been suffering from depression and was receiving medical help for his illness.
"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,’’ Slipper wrote.
‘‘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.’’
The news will rock Australian rugby, which is reeling from a string of off-field controversies.
Rugby Union Players’ Association boss Ross Xenos said Slipper’s welfare was paramount and that he had been battling ‘‘demons’’ over the last few months.
‘‘He’s got to take some time away and look after himself and make sure he gets himself right,’’ Xenos said. ‘‘Speaking with James quite a lot over the course of the last week, his first expression and first emotion when he found out about the situation was relief. That’s an indication of some of the demons that he has been battling over the course of the last little while.’’