Former Wallabies winger Clyde Rathbone is seriously considering retiring from professional rugby at just 27 years of age.
The South African-born Rathbone had the potential to become one of the best ever finishers in the game, but his career has been dogged by injury. On the sidelines again with a quad strain, Rathbone will decide whether to continue playing or give the game away at the end of the Super 14 series, reports The Australian newspaper.
If he decides to continue playing, he will probably look overseas, as the Brumbies are unlikely to renew his contract for a seventh season. A move overseas could, however, disrupt Rathbone's work as a director of Health Futures, a corporate health business he established in Canberra with his wife, Carrie.
"I've got a couple of different options. Nothing is locked in yet," Rathbone said.
"My preference would be to continue with the Brumbies. My manager has put a few things on the table from overseas clubs. I've held off until I have a chat with the Brumbies.
"If I didn't get offered a contract with the Brumbies, I'm running a company out of Canberra and it would be difficult to pack up and leave. "I'm not leaning in one direction or another. I'll make a decision in the next couple of weeks." If Rathbone does go overseas or retire, he may have played his last game for the Brumbies.
Rathbone, who has not played since straining his quad in the warm-up before the Brumbies' win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein four weeks ago, aggravated the injury at training last Monday.
He missed the Brumbies' match with the Reds in Brisbane and is likely to be unavailable for the game against the Blues in Canberra next Saturday.
If the Brumbies do not reach the playoffs, Rathbone's last chance to play again may come against the Chiefs in the final round in Hamilton.
"I was 95 per cent right and then I re-strained it on Monday," a frustrated Rathbone said. "It's not good timing.
"The Blues is touch and go, but realistically I hope to be fit for the Chiefs."
A former South African under-21 captain, Rathbone was regarded as a future Springboks skipper. He led the Jake White-coached South African Under 21 team to victory in the 2002 World Cup.
After making his Super rugby debut for the Sharks against the Crusaders in 2002, Rathbone moved to Australia and joined the Brumbies. He was the object of anger from South African fans whenever he returned to his homeland.
Having an Australian grandmother meant Rathbone was eligible to play for the Wallabies immediately, but he missed the 2003 Super rugby season with a groin injury.
Nicknamed the White Rhino, the hard-running Rathbone played in the Brumbies' title-winning team in 2004 and showed what a great player he might become when he exploded on to the Test scene against Scotland.[/b]