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James Slipper to make comeback for Super Rugby XV

July 31, 2018

SYDNEY (AP) — Former Australia prop James Slipper will return from a two-months drug suspension to play for an Australian Super Rugby selection against the Wallabies Friday in a warm-up match ahead of the Rugby Championship.

Slipper, who has played 86 teats, was suspended in May and fined $27,500 after testing positive to cocaine for a second time. The ban ended on July 15 and the 29-year-old Slipper was one of four former test players named Tuesday by coach John Manenti in his squad for the match at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval.

“James’s enthusiasm has really impressed me since we invited him to join,” Manenti said. “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.”

Locks Blake Enever and Matt Philip and backrower Richard Hardwick are the other capped players in the invitation team. All but five members of Manenti’s squad have current Super Rugby contracts.

“We’ll have some fun this week but make no mistake,” Manenti said. “We will prepare as best we can to give (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s) side a real shake on Friday night.

“I know how important this game could prove to be ahead of the Bledisloe Cup so we need to play with real accuracy and plenty of intensity straight from the kickoff.”

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