Slipper still dreaming of World Cup despite achilles injury
HOBBLING captain James Slipper has vowed to fight for his Reds and Wallabies career by pressing on to his third World Cup in 2019.
The 86-Test prop faces a drawn-out eight months on the sidelines to repair his ruptured achilles tendon if he follows the healing timeline of All Black Sonny Bill Williams.
The Kiwi ace is set to return for the Blues next month after being grounded by a torn achilles suffered in the rugby sevens tournament at the Rio Olympics.
As crushed as Slipper is to lose this season, there was only determination to fight back when he spoke after the long haul home from Johannesburg where he sustained the damage against the Lions last Sunday.
"Four games in a year and it's all over for me," Slipper said as he stood on crutches with his left leg in a moon boot.
"My motivation in rugby hasn't changed at all with this injury.
"I've always wanted to play at the 2019 World Cup (in Japan) and that's still the long-term goal after getting back healthy for the Reds.
"This is my first season-ending injury and we lost the game as well (44-14) so it has been a tough, disappointing few days.
"I felt something relaxing in the (lower) leg and I thought I'd slipped for a lineout lift but I stepped and snapped it."
Flyhalf Quade Cooper arrived home in Brisbane on the same Qantas flight to face a SANZAR judicial hearing on Tuesday.
The fact he has flown home to Brisbane signifies a suspension is coming for the high, dangerous tackle that earned him a red card against the Lions.
A foul play review committee video-conference last Sunday offered the Reds the chance to accept an early punishment on Cooper but this step up to a hearing indicates they were unhappy with the severity of the proposed ban.
It suggests a fight to limit Cooper's absence to one or two games at a pivotal stage of the season.
"The refs are clearly trying to stamp out high tackles," Slipper said.
"There was no malice in it from Quade because no one goes in trying to take someone's head off."
The Reds landed in Buenos Aires where flyhalf Jake McIntyre will train in the No.10 slot all week for the tough clash against the Jaguares on Sunday.
Slipper said the character shown by the Reds' bench late in the game against the Lions was a good sign.
"We put on two late tries and young guys put their hands up in difficult times," Slipper said.
"I'm sure we have a good performance in us in Argentina and that (replacement prop) Markus Vanzati will be up for it.
"I know the work Markus has put in and you only learn getting out there and scrummaging."