Brumbies coach Jake White says Clyde Rathbone is likely to be considered for the first game of the new Super Rugby season.
Rathbone (31) is making his comeback to rugby after three years on the sideline. He took part in an opposed training session last Friday, and White is confident that he will feature in the two pre-season hit-outs against the Western Force and an ACT side.
White told the Canberra Times that Rathbone has overcome the injuries that have dogged him for the past few years, as well as his depression.
‘He’s waited a long time and you can see he’s still got it,’ White said. ‘Just the little things he does: a big tackle, the pick up and chip down the field, it’s reminiscent of what he was like.
‘I’m chuffed for him and mentally [the opposed session on Friday] will be a massive step for him; he will be confident that he can do it. If he’s in the mix for the Reds game he’ll get more time in the last trial and all I was worried about was mentally whether he had the demons in his head. But I can see he’s ready to go.’
White suggested that Rathbone could get an opportunity in the second half of this Friday’s clash against the Force. The player himself can’t wait to get back on to the park.
‘The whole idea of the trials is to tick a box, it’s a step in getting back to playing again and if I get some more time this week it will be another step forward,’ Rathbone said.
‘I wasn’t worried about any lack of desire. My nerves were just about being in the right space and not being too anxious or trying too hard. The key is to get more running in my legs, but if 16 February rolls around and I’m in the selection mix I’ve got no hesitation putting my hand up and being ready.
‘There’s only so much you can prove in training, you have to get out on the field and do it.’