Wallaby Slipper returns after cocaine ban

    2018-07-31 06:50

    Sydney - Wallabies prop James Slipper will make his return from a two-month drug ban this week after being picked on Tuesday in a Super Rugby selection side to play a trial game against Australia. 

    The front-rower, who has played 86 Tests and previously captained the Wallabies, tested positive for cocaine and was suspended in May, with the Reds skipper revealing he was being treated for depression. 

    "James' enthusiasm has really impressed me since we invited him to join," said the selection team's coach John Manenti. 

    "He's keen to be back out there and training hard but also really wants to get his old Wallabies teammates firing ahead of that first Bledisloe. That just shows the character of the bloke." 

    The Wallabies play the All Blacks in their opening Bledisloe Cup clash in Sydney on August 18, and coach Michael Cheika has lined up the trial match on Friday to help get them prepared. 

    Three other capped Wallabies - Blake Enever, Matt Philip and Richard Hardwick - will line up alongside Slipper in a team led by Melbourne Rebels skipper Tom English. 

    When Slipper was banned, Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said he was "dealing with very significant personal issues" and was remorseful. 

    Slipper revealed at the time he had been suffering depression for a year and was receiving professional help.

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