Rathbone's fairytale now a reality

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 07:48
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Champion outside back Clyde Rathbone will play for the Brumbies in 2013 after signing a one-year deal with the club on Thursday.

Champion outside back Clyde Rathbone will play for the Brumbies in 2013 after signing a one-year deal with the club on Thursday.

A 26-Test veteran who played 49 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies between 2003 and 2009, Rathbone immigrated to Australia shortly after captaining the South African Under-21 team to a junior world cup victory in 2002.

That championship winning side was coached by Jake White, with the future Brumbies Rugby mentor recognising early that Rathbone had what it took to be a champion of the game.

In a further link with the Brumbies coaching staff, Rathbone was previously coached by Laurie Fisher while he played outside Stephen Larkham for five seasons.

"It's a new challenge for me to be in this position and to have another shot at playing professional rugby with the Brumbies," Rathbone said.

"The Brumbies rugby program is in outstanding shape. The coaching and conditioning staff are some of the best in the business and it's easy to see why the team was so fit and cohesive in 2012.

"I'm not coming back to make up the numbers. Like all the players here I've got goals and objectives, I want to meet those targets in 2013 and contribute to this team."

Rathbone has plenty of big game experience having been part of the Brumbies last finals appearance in 2004 when the ACT-based side won the Super 12 tournament at Canberra Stadium.

Since retiring in 2009, Rathbone has returned to peak fitness and recently posted some impressive times and results in testing with Brumbies strength and conditioning coach Dean Benton.

Making his Super 12 debut for the Sharks in 2002, Rathbone's move to Canberra made him one of Australia's most popular players during his time with the Wallabies.

And while Rathbone's return to the Brumbies is his first priority, recent Wallaby re-births to players like Dan Vickerman and Radike Samo have left the door open for a possible return to international rugby.  

White was thrilled with the inclusion of Rathbone to his 2013 Brumbies squad. He was confident the addition of another Wallaby to the Brumbies ranks would help guide younger members of the backline.

"It's fantastic that a guy like Clyde can see the value of our rugby program and wants to come back and have another crack at playing professionally," White said.

"From the first time I saw Clyde play as a youngster, I knew there was something special about him and that I wanted a chance to coach him at a higher level.

"From a coach's perspective, Clyde's signature is another confirmation that what we are doing with the Brumbies and rugby in the ACT is on track.

"I look forward to seeing Clyde contribute to this team, both on and off the field, throughout the coming Super Rugby season."

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