South African rugby’s stock of experienced blinside flankers thinned out further on Tuesday following the announcement that Warwick Tecklenburg has retired from professional rugby.
The 30-year-old loose forward, considered a bit of an unfashionable player, has been an outstanding performer for the Lions.
But the lure of the family farm in the Lowveld has become too big and the robust stalwart will be concentrating full-time on his role there.
“It has always been my dream to play professional rugby at the highest level. It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to play for the Lions and be part of such a great team and professional setup,” said Tecklenburg.
“I have many special memories of our achievements as a team, from winning the Vodacom Cup in 2013 up until last years’ Super Rugby final. It has always been my intention to join my family in the family farming business after rugby. It has been a very difficult decision to make but I feel the time is right for me to move on.”
Tecklenburg hasn’t been as dynamic with ball in hand than his fellow teammates Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel but his uncompromising defence and link play provided a great balance to the loose-trio.
His consistency will be missed but there’s more than enough depth to compensate for his absence.
Ruan Ackermann, Fabian Booysen and Cyle Brink all possess the physique and skills to stake a claim in the No 7 jersey.
“Within the Lions system there is a wealth of talent and I am sure they will continue to go from strength to strength,” said Tecklenburg.
The Lions will announce their reduced pre-season squad later on Tuesday.