The rugby community is pulling for Australia legend and Tonga coach Toutai Kefu after he and his family suffered serious injuries during an early-morning burglary at their home on Monday.
Kefu, 47, is reportedly ‘fighting for his life’ after he was stabbed in the abdomen during the attack, having attempted to fight off the three intruders at his home in Coorparoo, Brisbane.
The ex-Wallabies No. 8 was taken to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, and the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) reported police are ‘investigating offences of burglary and attempted murder’.
Kefu’s family also intervened, with his 21-year-old son reportedly suffering lacerations to his back, while his daughter sustained cuts on her arm and hand.
Queensland Police are understood to have found a machete, an axe and a knife at the residence, and detective superintendent Tony Fleming told reporters: “His (Kefu’s) initial condition was described as critical, but expected to survive.
"The mother has suffered very, very serious lacerations to her arm and I'm told her wounds are very significant.”
"I can only imagine this will have a lasting effect on this family due to the trauma of what's happened. It is highly likely a burglary that has gone wrong."
Kefu—who earned 60 Australia caps—made more than 100 appearances for the Queensland Reds before joining Japanese outfit Kubota Spears, whom he later went on to coach for four years.
He was appointed Tonga head coach in 2016 and helped deliver his birth nation to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where they beat the United States and suffered a narrow 23-21 loss to France.
It’s reported a member of the Kefu family was confronted by one of the burglars after hearing a disturbance at around 3.15am and was threatened they would be stabbed if they didn’t hand over car keys.
Neighbours are believed to have rushed to the scene and helped apprehend one of the intruders, with two 15-year-old boys reportedly arrested.
It’s understood authorities in Brisbane are still searching for a third male culprit in relation to the attack.
The official Wallabies Twitter account posted a picture of Kefu from his days as an Australia international, captioned with a heart emoji and the words: “You got this great man!! All our love and thoughts to you and the entire Kefu family!!”
Former New Zealand international and National Rugby League star Sonny Bill Williams joined the tributes: "Thoughts and prayers are with my Tongan brother Toutai Kefu and his family.”
The Australia great played a prominent part in the Wallabies team that beat France in the final to lift the Rugby World Cup in 1999.
He later played all three Tests when Australia defeated the British and Irish Lions during their 2001 series, the first time the Wallabies had bested the tourists in 71 years at the time.
Despite being born in Tonga, he further cemented his place as an Australian rugby icon after helping the country keep hold of the Bledisloe Cup for five years running.
Kefu scored the winning try when Australia clinched a last-minute 29-26 win over the All Blacks in 2001, sealing back-to-back Bledisloe victories as well as the Tri Nations title.
Former Australia captain Tim Horan—who was a team-mate of Kefu's in Queensland, tweeted: "Thoughts and Prayers to Kef and family. #PrayforKef."
Justin Marshall failed to bring down the marauding Kefu in the build-up to that score, and the New Zealand legend told Fox Sports of his disbelief following Monday's news.
“That is very much part of my regular life really because I always tell that story of him pipping us at the post and Kef was the guy who scored that try and I was the guy underneath him hoping to prevent it and he got the better moment of me," Marshall said.
“So, he’s very much in my every day when I think about telling stories, particularly when it relates to the Bledisloe.
“Those days were great days and when you hear news like you heard today, it always puts you in a frame of mind that you just can’t believe what you’re hearing to be honest.”
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