Super Rugby
Rathbone set to complete fairytale comeback
February 15, 2013
Clyde Rathbone of the Brumbies is tackled during the Super Rugby trial match, Brumbies v ACT XV, Viking Park, Canberra, February 8, 2013
Clyde Rathbone in action during a pre-season trial match for ACT Brumbies. © Getty Images
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Teams: Australia | Brumbies

Brumbies veteran Clyde Rathbone is set to complete his fairytale comeback from retirement in their opening Super Rugby clash against the Reds.

Rathbone, 31, hung up the boots three years ago after a frustrating run of injuries and in early 2012 revealed he had been long suffering from depression.

After splitting with his wife Carrie, Rathbone hit an all-time low when his weight ballooned and he finally decided to seek treatment for his illness.

Running out against the Reds will mark a long journey back for the former Wallaby and South Africa under-21 captain who has been a revelation in the pre-season, scoring three tries in two matches to earn a starting spot.

His selection on the wing for the season opener in Canberra has forced Wallabies young gun Joe Tomane to the bench, with Fijian flyer Henry Speight named on the right flank in the only change to the side that demolished the ACT XV in last week's trial match.

Prize recruit David Pocock and replacement hooker Siliva Siliva will also make their debuts for the Brumbies against the Reds.

"You talk about Jonah Lomu and Richie McCaw being world beaters, really you have to include David in that calibre of player," Brumbies coach Jake White said.

"He's a game changer, he has the ability to work a game in his favour, we saw it at the World Cup in New Zealand when he turned the game on the Springboks and kept the Wallabies in the tournament.

"That's the sort of player I'm looking forward to having at the Brumbies."

Siliva, who has been named on the bench behind Stephen Moore, has come through a season of injuries in 2012 to be fully fit for his Super Rugby debut.

"Siliva's waited a long time, the poor guy got two terrible knee injuries then had to wait behind Anthony Hegarty so I'm sure he's excited and relieved to be at this point," White said.

"I've seen him play before, I went to Perth when we signed him and I can say he's a very skilful player, Siliva will fit into what we're doing without any trouble."

White declared he has chosen his best possible side for the season opener and welcomed the increased expectations of fans and the media in 2013.

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg; Henry Speight, Andrew Smith, Christian Lealiifano, Clyde Rathbone; Matt Toomua, Nic White; Ben Mowen (captain), David Pocock, Peter Kimlin; Sam Carter, Scott Fardy; Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Replacements: Siliva Siliva, Ruaidhri Murphy, Colby Faingaa, Fotu Auelua, Ian Prior, Joseph Tomane, Robbie Coleman.

Queensland: Mike Harris; Dom Shipperley, Aidan Toua, Ben Tapuai (vice-captain), Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk; Rob Simmons, Adam Wallace-Harrison; James Slipper (captain), Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Replacements: Albert Anae, James Hanson, Ed O'Donoghue, Jarrad Butler, Nick Frisby, Jono Lance, Chris F'Sautia

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