Australian international Clyde Rathbone has called it on a day on his rugby career, sadly hanging up his boots at the tender age of just 28.
Rathbone, a South African born and raised, has had a terrible run of injuries since moving to his new homeland Australia. This past weekend he fractured his eye socket and cheekbone in a club match in Canberra, prompting him to call it a day.
“The injury happened after I decided but I guess it just solidified things. I’m not exactly sure what happened. I got hit in the ruck. It may have been a knee … I hope it was accidental,” Rathbone said on Wednesday.
Rathbone was brought up in Durban, and at a fairly young age was identified as a tremendous prospect. Playing at centre for the Sharks, he was mentioned as the next Danie Gerber, and went on to captain Jake White’s South African side that won the U21 World Cup in 2002.
At the end of that year though, Rathbone turned his back on South Africa and chose to move to Australia, for which he qualified to play through a paternal Australian grandmother.
Vilified in the media as a traitor, the move was not a popular one, and ‘Aussie Clyde’ soon became a huge talking point. He was anything but tactful in his handling of the sensitive topic, but he had his reasons to leave, many of which are the same as why other South African’s also leave their country of birth.
Rathbone went straight to the Brumbies, and later chose to represent Australia at international level. A stocky, extremely powerful runner, Rathbone made his debut for the Wallabies against Scotland in 2004, then scored a hatrick the following weekend against England.
It was in that year’s Tri Nations that Clyde came under fire once again, as he scored this excellent winning try in Perth against his old country, with his celebration infuriating SA fans.
Rathbone’s career promised so much, but he was unfortunately never able to stamp his authority on a regular Wallaby jersey, mainly due to his continual injury problems. He did however play 26 Tests, and 52 matches for the Brumbies.
For the last two years he’s been attempting a proper comeback, but he’s struggled, and has now called it a day on a career that could have been so different if it weren’t for a poor string of luck.
“I’ve decided to hang up the boots, it’s all over. I need to look after my long-term health and when I couldn’t agree with any of the contracts that were in front of me for next year, I figured it would be best to step aside,” Rathbone said.