David Stewart Rathie
- 550Wallaby Number
David Rathie was a forceful, powerfully built, multi-talented centre who had his career cut short by serious injury.
A gifted athlete and perhaps one of the last sportsmen to play both rugby and cricket for his State, Rathie attended Anglican Church of Grammar School in Brisbane. He was School Captain in 1969, a member of the 1st Tennis team 1966-68, the 1st XI (1966-69) and played two seasons in the 1st XV, the second as captain. After graduation he joined the GPS Old Boys’ Rugby Club from where he gained selection in the Queensland U19s.
A year later he made his debut for Queensland against South Australia at Ballymore and at the end of the season was picked on his first Wallaby tour, to France, although he did not play in either of the Tests. When Les Bleus toured Australia in 1972 incumbent inside centre Geoff Shaw had departed for South Africa and Europe and David L’Estrange was ruled out after he fractured his tibia against New South Wales. Rathie was selected to fill the vacant inside centre position and make his Test debut in Sydney. He then toured to New Zealand however L’Estrange had returned to start at No.12 in each of the three Tests.
In 1973 Rathie missed the entire season due to a shoulder reconstruction. He resumed his sporting career the following year only to suffer a life-threatening throat injury in a Queensland trial match at Ballymore. Rathie underwent six operations to restore approximately 40% of his voice capacity. Upon his return to both cricket and rugby he found the injury had considerably diminished his prowess. Rathie did not play rugby for three years and only came back to the game due to the encouragement of his ENT specialist who said that the chances of a recurrence were minimal. Rathie’s intention was to play at club level however his form proved strong enough to earn a return to representative rugby with Queensland. The following year, while in Sydney for work, Rathie made his debut for New South Wales against Marlborough.
Rathie won his first Test cap at inside centre in partnership with fellow debutant Dave Burnet in the 1st Test, 14-14 draw with France in Sydney. Both centres were retained for the 2nd Test, 15-16 loss at Ballymore.