Then, in 2012, at only 29-years-old, he suffered a massive heart attack whilst on an exercise bike during training at the Scarlets.
The heart attack caused irreparable damage to his heart. Only the prompt care of the medical staff at Parc y Scarlets and specialists at Swansea Morriston Hospital who performed a quadruple heart bypass saved his life.
The following 12 months Rhys’ health deteriorated dramatically and he was told unless he had an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) pump fitted, he would be lucky to survive another year. Fitting the LVAD pump was high-risk surgery in itself, with only a 50% chance of survival.