BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — World Cup-winning Wallabies forward Toutai Kefu was seriously injured during an alleged break-in at his home in Brisbane’s south and underwent surgery Monday at a nearby hospital.
The 47-year-old Kefu, who won the 1999 Rugby World Cup and played 60 test matches for Australia, has been head coach of Tonga’s national team since 2016.
Kefu and three members of his family received knife wounds after three males allegedly broke into their home around 3 a.m. All four were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Kefu is reported to be in a serious condition with abdominal injuries.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Queensland state police Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming as saying the altercation was “brutal and violent” and allegedly involved an axe and knives.
Fleming said one member of the household woke and was confronted by at least one of the intruders and “other members of the family then came to that person’s aid and during that time very significant injuries occurred to the family.”
He said Kefu’s initial condition was described as critical but the former rugby international was expected to survive.
“Early information suggests a number of males were disturbed breaking into a dwelling and a violent altercation left four members of the house injured,” Queensland police said in an earlier statement.
A 15-year-old youth was detained by the Kefu family’s neighbours until police arrived. Another 15-year-old youth was also taken into custody after seeking treatment at a hospital. Police are continuing investigations.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos described Kefu as “a titan of our game – a warrior on the field and off it.”
“To the Kefu family,” he said, “the Australian Rugby community is here for you.” ___