Rathbone ready to roll again


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Clyde Rathbone has admitted that he was “playing on one leg” from 2005-06 and should not have been picked for the Wallabies.

The devastating winger is ruing the decision to make himself available for the national rugby side when key backs were ruled out through injury, aggravating his own knee problems that led to 15 months out of the game, reports RugbyHeaven website.

Rathbone is attempting to reignite his representative career after successful surgery to a torn patella tendon in his left knee. He made a promising comeback in club rugby with Eastern Suburbs – scoring a hat-trick last week.

He has predicted a return to his best form, but until now it has remained a mystery why the freakishly talented star failed to kick on from his debut season with the Wallabies in 2004 when he was widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous finishers.

Rathbone suffered an injury to his knee during a Super 12 match between Brumbies and Auckland in 2005 and it progressively deteriorated to the point he could not place hefty weight on it.

“I genuinely could not walk down a flight of stairs after games, I was playing on one leg – there was absolutely no way I could step off my left leg,” Rathbone said.

“I was honestly surprised I was getting selected [for Australia]. I think I was getting selected on reputation, not form.” The 27-year-old conceded he is as much to blame as coaches and selectors.

“I think players need to take far more ownership of their injuries and the management of them. I should have been resting my knee but I made myself available [during the 2005 Tri-Nations],” he said.

“At that time Stirlo [Stirling Mortlock] got injured, [Chris] Latham got injured and Elton Flatley suffered his head knock so they told me they needed me. I knew my body wasn’t right but I knew the team was struggling.

“I thought I would just have a bench spot and play a few minutes but I was starting every game.”

The extra load took its toll and Rathbone withdrew from the end-of-year tour to Europe but then made an ill-fated early return the next season, struggling to recapture the magic he displayed from 2004.

In his second Test he scored a hat-trick against England and then in the Tri-Nations a match-winning try against South Africa – the country where he was born and which he captained to victory in the under-21s World Cup in 2002.

“When you look at it, if you are physically in good shape then you should be improving each season, but that hasn’t happened with my career. I never kicked on from my good debut season,” Rathbone said.

“I know that when I am in good shape and fit I play well and I keep improving.

“Every time I have not played well it has been because I have been carrying an injury.”

Rathbone, who now heads a company advising corporations on how to better manage staff health, is managing his own rehabilitation with the aid of Brumbies officials and believes he is on track to become the international rugby force he once was.

“There is a lot of trial and error, you try some things and they don’t work, others do,” he said.

“I am feeling really good, I am managing my knee so I don’t bang myself up during the week and by Saturday it’s no good. Intensity has never been a problem, it’s about managing the workload.”

Sapa –

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