JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Rathbone's ready to play

Date

Clyde Rathbone battled injury and depression but is back on the Brumbies' wing, Chris Dutton writes

Back from the scrap heap ... Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone.

Back from the scrap heap ... Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone. Photo: Colleen Petch

It's the fairytale Super Rugby comeback that will bring fans to their feet and Clyde Rathbone has assured his teammates ''I'm ready'' to pull on an ACT Brumbies jersey for the first time in three years.

A new Rathbone will run on to Canberra Stadium on Saturday night a reinvented man ready to help the Brumbies chase Super Rugby glory.

But he doesn't want to be known as ''the depression guy'' and ''I'm not here to make up the numbers'' in the opening round against the Queensland Reds.

Rathbone's rugby journey will take him back on to the field when he makes a comeback.

Three years ago constant injuries forced him into premature retirement. Just 12 months ago he opened up publicly about his battle with depression.

But with a new perspective and a different attitude, Rathbone has redefined success for his rugby reincarnation.

He used to stress about the numbers - how many tries he scored, the metres he ran and games he played.

When things were going well, he was on top of the world.

When he was struggling, his world crumbled because ''rugby was my life''.

''The one thing that I feel I have now that makes this game different is perspective,'' Rathbone says.

''Before my goals were so rugby orientated that if I didn't achieve them, I was devastated. Now I've redefined what success is.

''It's not measured by numbers of caps or tries, it's about the difference you make in other people's lives.

''When I look back on this season, I don't want it to just be about what I've done on the field.''

A relaxed Rathbone needed only two words to convince Brumbies coach Jake White he was worthy of selection in the opening round of the season - ''I'm ready''.

The winger who played 26 Tests for the Wallabies and 49 games for the Brumbies will make his comeback complete when he lines up against the Queensland Reds.

It's been a massive turnaround from an overweight Rathbone to a fighting-fit winger who looks capable of being just as destructive as he was in the prime of his career.

At the lowest ebbs of his fight with mental demons, Rathbone was 16 kilograms overweight and considered taking his own life.

Then he decided to turn it all around.

White first approached Rathbone about a comeback in January last year.

At the time, Rathbone declined after just going public about his fight against depression.

But after some secret testing at the Australian Institute of Sport with Brumbies athletic performance director Dean Benton in June, Rathbone took the first step on his path back to the top.

''I had been playing touch every Monday, but I didn't play a game of contact footy because of my face,'' Rathbone said.

''But to be honest, I don't feel the need to go out and do 100 tackles at training or stay out there longer than everyone else.

''I've done this since I was six years old, if I haven't learnt it by now, I'm not going to.

''And I can't wait for that feeling of waking up the next day after the first game and my body feeling like I've just played.''

The 31-year-old has been inundated with messages of support this week.

White has a sense of occasion when it comes to Rathbone.

The South African mentor knows the veteran will get the biggest cheer of the night when he runs out of the tunnel and gets his first touch.

But if you think it's a token selection, you're wrong.

In fact, White and Rathbone's former Brumbies and Wallabies teammate Joe Roff say it can be one of the best seasons of his career.

''I'm excited to see those big tree trunks [legs] of his getting back on the field,'' Roff says with a grin

''I think he epitomises the real culture of the Brumbies. He's had a harder road than most, he's shown enormous courage to overcome some challenges and he's done it for the right reasons.

''It used to be he would run through brick walls and injure himself from time to time. Now he's a lot more composed and self aware.

''The last Test I played with him he scored three tries against England - you don't lose that class.

''He probably has the potential to have the best season he's ever had.''

Related Coverage

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
 
Featured advertisers