FRANCE-BASED Zimbabwe international rugby player Michael Passaportis has retired from the sport after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 31-year-old former Zimbabwe Under-19 captain, who has been playing professional rugby for French side Sporting Club Tulle, had surgery on his shoulder, which saw him miss the Sables opening Rugby Africa Gold Cup match against Senegal.
And even though the surgery was a success, Passaportis said the damage on the injured shoulder was too much for him to continue with his career.
“Shoulder operation was a success; unfortunately the surgeon has confirmed what we suspected. (There was) too much damage to repair back to a state where I can safely continue to play rugby,” Passaportis made the announcement on social media on Wednesday.
The former Ikey Tigers and Griquas towering lock added: “The time has come to hang up the old boots. It’s been an incredible ride, highlighted by amazing people I’ve met along the way both on and off the field. It’s now time for new opportunities.”
A product of St John’s College in Harare, Passaportis made his breakthrough in 2010 after signing for South African Currie Cup side Griquas from Ikey Tigers, a Varsity Cup side representing the University of Cape Town.
Passaportis spent two years at Griquas before moving to France to join former Top 14 champions ROC La Voulte-Valence, where he enjoyed three successful seasons before moving to third-tier side Sporting Club Tulle last year.
The experienced forward ended his three-year absence from the national rugby team last year after being included in the Sables squad for the 2016 Cup of Nations tournament held in Hong Kong.
His return was a massive boost for the Sables’ pack of forwards, although Zimbabwe lost their opening two matches to Russia and Hong Kong before beating Papua New Guinea in their last match.
Passaportis was expected to form the integral part of the Zimbabwe squad which is competing in the 2017 Rugby Africa Gold Cup competition, which is the first part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.