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Rathbone set to make comeback against the Force

Former Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone

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Article Published: Tuesday 29 January 2013

Former Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone will make his return to rugby with the Brumbies on Friday in a Super Rugby trial match against the Western Force on Friday.

The former Test winger has insisted that he will be ready to face the Queensland Reds on February the 16th if he is selected in the season opening match.

Rathbone made his first appearance in a Brumbies shirt since he returned to rugby in an opposed session at Viking Park last Friday night.

The South African born winger retired from playing rugby three years ago due to an injury but battled with depression and has now turned his life around.

White said that he can see that the "the demons" have gone from Rathbone's head and hinted that with Joseph Tomane carrying a niggling injury that the 31-year-old could be in contention for round one.

However Rathbone will have to get through the Force match unscathed if he is to be considered for the Super Rugby opener.

"He's waited a long time and you can see he's still got it," White told the Canberra Times.

"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 is likely to field a full strength team in the first half of the match against the Force which means that new recruit David Pocock and returning playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano are likely to feature before being rotated for the second half.

"They'll get 40 minutes this week and then 60 minutes the next week, I just want them mentally to get ready for the Reds game," White said of Toomua and Lealiifano who will play flyhalf and inside-centre respectively.

Rathbone is expected to get his chance to impress in the second half having recovered from ankle surgery in the pre-season.

"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 February 16 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."

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