Promising Emirates Lions Prop Forced To Retire


A career-ending medical condition has forced talented loosehead prop Rhynardt Rijnsburger to retire from the sport. The Paarl Boys High School alumni, who played eight international franchise matches for the Emirates Lions (Vodacom United Rugby Championship and EPCR Challenge Cup) was on the brink of a successful professional career, but medical advice led to the unfortunate decision to retire from the game.

“I experienced a DVT (Deep vein thrombosis) whilst on the flight to Scotland for our first tour of the season at the of October last year, he recalls. It’s basically a blood clot in the calf.”

“The decision to call it quits was purely medical. If I could, I would still want to play but unfortunately the doctors felt it was safer for me not to continue as the condition could be life-threatening.”

A popular member of the Lions squad, Rijnsburger reflects on his time at the Johannesburg franchise, where he enjoyed some of the fondest memories of his life so far.

“I had so many special moments during my time at the Lions. Certainly, one of the most blessed years I could have asked for. A standout moment for me was my first four-week tour with the squad roughly a year ago. I was fortunate enough to make my debut against Stade Francais in the EPCR Challenge Cup in Paris. It was certainly one of the highlights of my life so far.”

“Having the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the legends within the Lions squad was immense for me as a young player. I will always cherish those times and opportunities provided to me by the management team to be part of something special.”

Looking ahead, the 22-year-old is one step closer to joining the world of finance, having completed his accounting degree ahead of his big move to the Big Smoke to play professional rugby.

“Before joining the Lions in 2022, I had completed my accounting degree, so my plan now is to pursuit a career in the financial field or atleast attempt to get into my articles and hopefully try my luck in the corporate world,” he concluded.

Ironically, the 118kg prop last featured for the Emirates Lions in their final match of the 2022/2023 Vodacom United Rugby Championship where his team were victorious against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria. A repeat effort of that performance this Saturday would be a fitting send-off for the now retired Rijnsburger.