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Rathbone on the ball for a fairytale return

Fighting fit ... Clyde Rathbone.

Fighting fit ... Clyde Rathbone. Photo: Colleen Petch

THE Clyde Rathbone fairytale is on the verge of becoming a reality with the returning Wallabies winger getting a perfect chance to audition for his Super Rugby comeback on Friday.

Three years after he retired, Rathbone will edge a step closer to a remarkable comeback when he lines up against the ACT XV at Viking Park.

Brumbies coach Jake White has named his strongest line-up, with Rathbone starting on the wing and Henry Speight, who attended a family funeral this week, being moved to the bench.

Injuries forced Rathbone into premature retirement in 2009. Hanging up the boots triggered a downward spiral into depression and off-field struggles.

He opened up about his battle with mental demons a year ago and White first approached Rathbone in January last year about making a comeback.

Despite making a stunning physical transformation, Rathbone declined at first.

But the challenge of returning to the field led him to sign a one-year deal.

The 31-year-old is in peak physical condition and confident he can recapture the power that allowed him to play 26 Tests for Australia.

Speight, Joseph Tomane and Rathbone are fighting for the two wing spots for the opening round against the Queensland Reds on February 16, and the door is ajar for Rathbone to complete his journey.

''I think [Rathbone] needs as much rugby time as he can get,'' White said.

''He's been out of the game for a while and the more time he spends on the field he will sharpen up his skills, and he'll also get some confidence out of his body lasting.

''[Rathbone] is in the mix … it's wonderful for Clyde - a lot of people didn't expect him to be where he is now, in terms of knocking on the door for selection in the starting line-up.

''But he's really experienced, the way he talks and communicates and gives confidence to others is something that doesn't go unnoticed.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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