Lions blindside flanker Warwick Tecklenburg has announced his retirement from all rugby with immediate effect.
Tecklenburg has decided to focus on his family's farming business.
He joined the Lions family in 2013 from the Bulls and immediately made a huge impression, not just on the field but also through his commitment to the team.
Tecklenburg made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Lions. In 2016 he played in 16 Super Rugby matches.
The 30-year-old was humble in his departing message to his team, his coaches and the fans.
"It has always been my dream to play professional rugby at the highest level," he said.
"It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to play for the Lions and to be part of such a great team and professional set-up. I owe a special debt of gratitude to coach Johan Ackerman who gave me a chance and backed me when no one else did.
"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.
"Within the Lions system there is a wealth of talent and I am sure they will continue to go from strength to strength. I would just like to thank all at the Lions rugby union, from the administrators to my team mates, for the incredible journey it has been these last few years and lastly but most important, all our Lions fans who have supported us through thick and thin. I will always be a Lion for life."
Lions head coach Johan Ackermann was full of praise as he thanked the burly flanker for his service.
"The team and I want to thank Warwick for his great contribution to the Lions," he said.
"His role was massive in making the union a proud union again. Warwick’s character was inspiring to the team and you always knew what you got from him and that was 100 percent. May he and his family be blessed on their path after rugby."
Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the Golden Lions, said Tecklenburg was one of the unsung heroes during the Lions’ resurgence in Super Rugby.
"We wish him all the best with the next chapter in his life."