- 788Wallaby Number
Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, Clyde Rathbone made the momentous decision to leave the country of his birth to forge an international rugby career in Australia.
A bustling, hard-running three-quarter, Rathbone was an outstanding young sportsman. He attended Kingsway High School and won selection for South African Schools in 1999. Rathbone then represented Natal U21s and, under the tutelage of future Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White, captained South Africa to win the 2002 U21s World Championship.
Rathbone made his Super Rugby debut for Natal against the Crusaders however after three games announced his intention to emigrate to Australia and play for the Wallabies for whom he qualified through his paternal grandfather Sydney Thompson - a Geelong-born, World War I medic during the 1916 Battle of the Somme. The ACT Brumbies won the race for his signature however he missed the entire 2003 Super Rugby season due to a severe groin injury.
In 2004 he debuted for the Brumbies against Auckland and started on the right wing when they won the tournament’s final against the Crusaders. His impressive form saw him win a spot in the Wallaby squad and he made his Test debut against Scotland in Melbourne. A fortnight later he scored a hat-trick against England. Unfortunately a dreadful run of injuries, notably a chronic knee problem / torn patella tendon, restricted him to almost no rugby from early 2007. In 2008, at just 27 years of age, Rathbone announced his retirement.
In 2012, Rathbone revealed that he had endured a long battle with depression, one that he fortunately had won. He returned to rugby in 2013 and played two more seasons with his beloved Brumbies before he retired for a second and final time.
Rathbone played 26 Tests for Australia during his far too-short, three year international career.
Rathbone won his first Test cap in the run-on XV at outside centre in the 1st Test, 35-15 win over Scotland in Melbourne. Two weeks later he scored his first Test tries in the 51-15 demolition of England at Suncorp. In his first Test against South Africa, in Perth, he rather fittingly scored the match-winning try. Rathbone won 11 caps over the course of the season and finished second to Lote Tuqiri on the try scoring list with six.
A persistent knee injury restricted Rathbone to just four Test appearances for the year.
Rathbone played 11 Tests, the final five of which were as the starting right winger.