Rathbone targets Aussie return

Clyde Rathbone has staked an early claim for a return to the Australia squad in place of injured winger Wendell Sailor. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Clyde Rathbone has staked an early claim for a return to the Australia squad in place of injured winger Wendell Sailor.

Sailor has returned from South Africa with a knee problem which requires surgery and is expected to rule him out of the rest of the Tri-Nations Series.

Ironically, Rathbone is on the comeback trail from his own knee problems which he will put to the test for club side Canberra Vikings in the Sydney Premiership on Saturday.

If South Africa-born Rathbone can get through that game without any worries he is confident it will be enough to earn him a recall for the Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney against New Zealand on August 13.

"There’s always opportunities, particularly when the team has lost two games in a row," he told ABC Sport.

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"So obviously if I play well in the club game and train well, I can put a bit of pressure on those blokes."

Flanker Rocky Elsom is another keen for a return to the starting XV after being demoted to the bench for Saturday’s 22-16 loss to the Springboks in Pretoria.

"The All Black Test is the biggest game in Sydney, probably the biggest domestic Test for the year," he said.

"We’ve got a couple of weeks to prepare for it so hopefully I can get into the 22 somewhere."

Sailor, meanwhile, has admitted his Tri-Nations series dreams are over although he hopes an arthroscopy with help his sore knee to heal quickly so he is fit for the Wallabies’ short European tour in November.

"After the game I was fine but I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t move my left knee, so I am probably going to go in and have a bit of an arthroscope," he said.

"I’m out for probably the rest of the Tri-Nations, so it’s been a pretty rotten tour as far as that’s gone."

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