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Wallabies peers back return by Rathbone

Date

David Polkinghorne

Former ACT and Wallabies player Clyde Rathbone in action for the Brumbies in 2004, left, and right, playing in the Wests Legends charity match this year.

Former ACT and Wallabies player Clyde Rathbone in action for the Brumbies in 2004, left, and right, playing in the Wests Legends charity match this year.

HIS career was cut short by persistent knee injuries and he's been out of the game for three years, but that hasn't stopped former Brumbies and Wallabies stars from backing Clyde Rathbone for a possible Super Rugby return.

Rathbone retired in 2009 but is back training with the Brumbies to see if his body can withstand the rigours of a comeback.

Owen Finegan was Rathbone's captain when the pair played together in the Brumbies' last Super Rugby title - in 2004.

They returned to the field together in a Wests Legends game earlier this year, prompting Finegan to try to entice the former flyer to play for the Gungahlin Eagles - who Finegan coaches in the John I Dent Cup.

Finegan said if Rathbone's body holds up then he has no doubt he'd be a valuable addition to any professional rugby team, whether in Australia or overseas.

But Finegan did think his old teammate may struggle to break his way into an emerging Brumbies back line.

Players such as Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Jesse Mogg and Robbie Coleman all showed this year they have big futures at Super Rugby level. Finegan wasn't sure whether Rathbone, at 31, would be able to force his way back into the line-up.

''If he's young enough to go back in, you're a long-time retired so why not go back in and give it another crack, I reckon it's a good idea,'' he said.

Former Wallabies five-eighth Rod Kafer said Rathbone would, at the very least, be an invaluable squad member. His experience of 26 Tests and 52 Super Rugby caps would provide added depth to a squad filled with young guns.

Kafer said Rathbone would bolster the leadership stocks and was the kind of ''quality'' person every club would benefit from having around. Rathbone was ''young enough and fit enough'' and ''ticked a few boxes''.

''Any player who's played for Australia can offer a rugby team something and Clyde has that ability to be a player who was very quick … tough uncompromising rugby player and a good addition to a squad. And given the Brumbies have got some challenges in improving their line-up, he'd be a bloke who'd come in and instantly improve the depth of the squad,'' Kafer said.

''And potentially filling a role as either outside-centre or a winger I think he'd certainly add a lot to the side.''

Kafer added he would return fresh after his time out of the game. ''We've seen guys - Radike Samo, Nathan Sharpe - who are Wallabies in their mid-30s so there's no reason why [Rathbone can't play at 31],'' he said.

A Brumbies' official confirmed Rathbone hoped to snare a vacant spot. ''He's one of several players looking at filling our last few positions,'' he said. ''Clyde will continue on when we get back into full pre-season training in October and see how he goes.''

with AAP

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
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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
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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
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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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
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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
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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
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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