Slipper sets sights on success with Brumbies

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The "first day at school" may have been a touch daunting for Brumbies recruit James Slipper but he couldn't be more grateful for the chance afforded to him by ACT in the wake of his exile from the Reds.

Slipper has kicked off preseason training with his new club this week and believes the change will do him a world of good.

Having been banished from the Reds by coach Brad Thorn after twice testing positive to cocaine use, the star prop cut a refreshed figure as he fronted the media on Wednesday.

"It's a big change and it's one I needed," Slipper said.

"I'll always be grateful to Queensland and I will always love the club, it's where I grew up.

"But for now it's about moving forward, becoming a better player and investing in this good club."

Investing in the Brumbies, to Slipper, means bettering himself first and foremost as a player.

James Slipper's chapter at the Reds is over. Photo: Getty ImagesCountless Queensland transplants have done that before him and he hopes to follow in their footsteps.

"It's been humbling to be invited down here and to train with such a good squad and such a good club," he said.

"A lot of players come down here and become better players and that's my goal as well.

"I want to improve and be a better player both on the field and off the field."

Improvement both on and off the field will be required if Slipper is to force his way into the starting XV next season.

The Brumbies' incumbent props - Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa - are Michael Cheika's go to men in the Wallabies fold and will be mighty tough to displace.

"We're all good mates so it's going to be enjoyable," Slipper said of the competition for minutes.

"It's a long year, it's a lot of travel and it's a hard competition.

Slipper is hopeful of a starting berth in Canberra. Photo: Getty Images"Everyone has good starting teams but it's the depth in those positions which puts those teams apart.

"When there is competition for spots in a certain position it drives performance a bit more and hopefully that works for us."

Slipper joins a Brumbies side on the up.

Their final six weeks of Super Rugby were scintillating under rookie coach Dan McKellar and with another year under their belt they will be challenging for the Australian Conference crown.

While forcing his way into the starting side will be firmly in his sights, team success remains Slipper's top priority.

"I want to hopefully be involved with some success at the Brumbies," he said.

"I just want to do my job and be able to do my job for the team.

"With the players they already have here and the young players coming through I think they are in good stead for a successful year."