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Facing the Reds after beating blues

Clyde Rathbone is tackled by Gareth Clouston of the ACT XV, during the Super Rugby trial match on February 8.

Clyde Rathbone is tackled by Gareth Clouston of the ACT XV, during the Super Rugby trial match on February 8. Photo: Getty Images

HE HAS fought a deep, dark battle with depression and now Clyde Rathbone has fought his way back into the Brumbies starting line-up, making his return to Super Rugby complete.

The former Wallabies flyer will run out on the wing for the Brumbies against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night and coach Jake White hopes it sparks a return to the club's glory days. It will also bring up Rathbone's 50th cap for the Australian province.

A chronic knee injury forced him to retire in 2009, but a call from White last year prompted an improbable return to the team he won a championship with in 2004.

Clyde Rathbone ... he's back

Clyde Rathbone ... he's back Photo: Colleen Petch COP

White knew Rathbone from when the pair teamed up as captain and coach of South Africa to win the 2002 under-21 World Cup.

Rathbone battled depression and weight issues in his time away from the game. But he has impressed in two trials, scored three tries, gradually built up his game time and is confident he can play 80 minutes.

The 31-year-old was both nervous and excited about playing, but ''more excited''.

''It's a pretty big occasion, just in the context of the last couple of years,'' he said. ''This game has been on the radar for a while and has been a focus of mine to get back for this. And in the context of our season, it's pretty important.

''Personally it's going to be a big occasion, but I think for us as a group leading into the rest of the year, this is a massive game.''

Rathbone has been flooded with messages of support since announcing his comeback and was grateful for it. He said mental-health issues meant he rated the success of his comeback in terms of his enjoyment of the game - the usual measures of games played and tries scored were no longer relevant.

But Rathbone still wanted to play every game.

''Saturday's important for a lot of reasons, but at the end of the day it's just a game of rugby and that's allowed me to train better and prepare better and not worry about games, and be excited and stimulated by them and not frantic or anxious about them,'' he said.

''Because whatever happens on Saturday, good or bad, I'm still going to make sure I enjoy Sunday. That's what's important.''

Rugby Championship 2015

Round 1
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NZL 39vs ARG 18 Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
AUS 24vs SAF 20 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
SAF 20vs NZL 27 Stats
ARG 9vs AUS 34 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs NZL 0 20:05ANZ
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs ARG 0 01:05Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Rugby Championship 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 2 2 0 0 29 9
New Zealand 2 2 0 0 28 9
South Africa 2 0 2 0 -11 2
Argentina 2 0 2 0 -46 0
View all
 

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