Clyde Rathbone is set to retire from Super Rugby for a second time at the end of this season. Photo: Colleen Petch
ACT Brumbies veteran Clyde Rathbone will end his Australian rugby career this year and is leaning towards his second retirement, insisting he won't get caught up in the "romance" of a farewell tour in Japan or France.
Rathbone, 32, will investigate playing options abroad but admitted his preference was to finish on his terms at the Brumbies when the Super Rugby season ends.
Chronic injuries first ended Rathbone's career in 2009, but he made a successful comeback last year after going public with his depression battle in 2012.
His form in 2013 was so convincing that Australian coach Ewen McKenzie has revealed he considered the veteran of 26 Tests for a recall to the Wallabies for their spring tour of Europe.
Rathbone has returned to club football for Easts after illness and a hamstring injury hindered his start to this season, although he is yet to suit up with the Brumbies.
Rathbone hopes to finalise his decision before the Super Rugby season finishes in August.
"It's definitely my last [year in Australia] and probably the way I'm leaning at the moment is that it's probably my last year of footy," Rathbone said.
"There are opportunities to go overseas ... but for me, coming back was a big test and I feel like I've done that. There are financial drivers with still playing, but I need other reasons and that's why I'm leaning to moving away [from rugby]."
Part of the 2004 Brumbies championship, Rathbone is pushing for a spot on the Brumbies tour of South Africa this month.
But fellow winger Henry Speight is also on track to make his comeback from a broken jaw on the South Africa Tour and Rathbone said he was happy to be on standby.
"The way I look at it is that you've got goals and boxes to tick for the season and mine is that I'm ready to step up and perform when I'm needed," he said. "You can't predict what will happen. I wasn't enjoying my rugby at all in 2009, I wanted to get away.
"Now I feel like the intention and goal to come back and play was to see if I could and do it on my terms. I think I've proved I can play at this level and I think I could do the same this year if tapped on the shoulder.
"There is romance and a romantic notion of going and playing in France, but the reality is that the vast majority of time is still in footy and I'm leaning towards [retiring]."
Rathbone was almost the Brumbies' grand final hero last season, dragged down metres from the line in what could have been a match-winning try.
His form catapulted him on to the Wallabies radar and McKenzie considered him as a "pinch-hitter" for Australia.
"His name did pop up," McKenzie said. "He's experienced and tough and [the Wallabies] squad was getting younger and younger because of injuries.
"We started looking around and we could go younger or grab an experienced bloke. I spoke to [former Brumbies coach] Jake White about [Rathbone] and explored it, people are never ruled in or out."