Wallabies' Saffa wing battled with depression

Former SA U21 captain and Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone struggled mentally after retiring for the first time at the age of 27.

Rathbone captained the Junior Boks to U21 World Cup glory in 2002, before signing for the Brumbies and going on to represent the Wallabies in 26 Tests.

A spate of injuries forced the 27-year-old into early retirement in 2009. He made a comeback in late 2012, and represented the Brumbies again in 2013 and 2014, but never played for the Wallabies again.

In an interview with Sport24, the now 38-year-old spoke about the mental toll his injuries and early retirement took.

'I had surgeries on my ankles, groin and knees. I also broke my arm, leg, eye socket and cheekbone. It's all part of contact sport, but they weren’t spaced out and that’s why the first time I retired was at the age of 27 in 2009.

'Thereafter, I suffered from depression. When your life has been dedicated to something and it gets taken away from you and you don't know what to do next, it can be extremely depressing. I felt unable to climb out of the hole I sunk into.

'For me, it was a case of my life not going the way I wanted it to go. Things got progressively worse and I felt powerless to change my situation.

'As soon as I started to recognise I had more control than I realised over my mental state, health and well-being, I found I could turn things around relatively quickly.'

Full interview