Cooper, Hunt, Slipper to play in Australia’s NRC

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Wallabies duo Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt will play in Australia’s National Rugby Championship from next month after being overlooked for Super Rugby selection this season by the Queensland Reds.

New Reds coach Brad Thorn has made it clear Cooper does not figure in his selection plans and the flyhalf, contracted to the Reds through 2019, has recently played for the Souths club in Brisbane.

Hunt, who has joined Cooper at Souths and is also on a Reds contract through 2019, was overlooked by Thorn after his arrest in late 2017 on drugs charges. A charge of illicit drug possession was dropped in February but Hunt was fined $600 for possessing Xanax without a prescription.

Both Cooper and Hunt will play for Brisbane City in the NRC which runs from Sept. 1 to Oct. 27.

Former Wallabies prop and Reds captain James Slipper will play for Brisbane Country. The 86-test veteran has just completed a two-month suspension after testing positive to cocaine for a second time.

Slipper hopes to win back his Reds place but has to overcome Thorn’s zero tolerance policy on drugs.