UK Armed Forces Rugby is delighted to announce the newest member of the team – former South Africa international Thinus Delport has joined us as a UKAF Ambassador. With an impressive playing career, in which he collected 18 international caps, Thinus has a wealth of professional experience. He also boasts an impressive CV beyond his days as an outstanding professional player. We are delighted to welcome him on board.
Thinus’ has competed against some of the world’s greatest rugby players on 3 separate continents, with his outstanding playing career taking him from South Africa to the UK to Japan. In 1997 he made his senior and international debut the same year playing in South Africa’s Super 12 and later on the Springboks’ European tour, with his test debut coming three years later, against Canada in 2000. For many British fans, he will be remembered for an impressive top-flight club career. In his debut season at Gloucester he won the 2003 Powergen Cup Final, going on to Worcester where he made 109 first-class appearances in a 4 year spell. Thinus finished his playing career with Japanese side Kobelco Steelers.
At the end of his playing career, Thinus continued to take on new challenges becoming a commentator for Sky Sports, where he continues to cover Southern Hemisphere rugby. He is also a passionate advocate of developing young athletes, and has dedicated a significant amount of his own time to mentoring young athletes with the Youth Sports Trust and Sky Sports Living.
Alongside his charitable work with the Youth Sports Trust, Thinus is also a key member of the Rugby for Heroes charity whose patron is Mike Tindall MBE. Having played alongside service players in their 2015 charity fund raising match in 2015 Thinus understands what makes the service rugby player tick and he is currently one of Rugby for Heroes principal instructors on their ground breaking Transition Through Rugby course, specifically designed to help military men and women as they leave the Armed Forces and begin to forge their second careers.
Thinus’ on pitch performances, adaptability and impressive career since retirement show his commitment to values held at the core of military service – selflessness, determination, and courage. Having dealt with the social pressure of moving from a small farming community to a big city environment early in his career, he developed and demonstrated the mental toughness to achieve at the highest level. His focus, determination and passion for rugby are well matched with the Armed Forces players he now represents as an Ambassador for Armed Forces Rugby.