James Slipper breaks silence over positive cocaine test – 'I have been suffering from depression for a year'

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It's just what Australian rugby didn't need - another high profile player in hot water.

The Reds skipper has been banned for two months by Rugby Australia for the failed test.
Source: 1 NEWS

Former Wallabies captain and Reds skipper James Slipper was today banned from the game for two months after it was revealed he returned two positive tests for cocaine.

But the discovery has also thrown his mental health into the spotlight, Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said.

"This is a difficult balancing act and we need to make sure the message is clear his behaviour's unacceptable but taken in context of issues he is facing."

Slipper revealed those off field struggles today in a statement he posted to social media.

"I have been suffering wellness issues including depression for a year," he said.

"In no way do my personal circumstances excuse my actions, but I recognise now that I was not coping.

"I take full responsibility for my actions... there is no place for illicit drugs in sport."

A tribunal met at Rugby Australia HQ last week to discuss the failed results - they took slipper's personal circumstances into account when deciding he'd receive the minimum two month sanction and a $30,000 fine.

The Rugby Union Players’ Association CEO Ross Xenos says the punishment reflects where Slipper is at mentally.

"His first expression and first emotion when he found out about the situation was relief.

"I think that’s an indication of some of the demons he's been battling over the course of the last little while."

Two weeks out from the June internationals, rugby in Australia once again finds itself talking about anything but the game.

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