Toutai Kefu, a former Australian rugby player and Rugby World Cup winner, and his family were attacked in their home in Brisbane, Australia.
Kefu and his family were taken to hospital with serious injuries after a “burglary gone wrong,” according to Brisbane’s Regional Crime and Intelligence Coordinator Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming.
Kefu was in surgery, according to Fleming, after suffering “very serious wounds to his abdomen.” His initial condition was described as “critical but expected to survive,” according to Fleming.
Kefu had recovered from surgery and was in “stable condition,” according to the Tongan rugby union team’s Facebook page.
According to Fleming, Kefu’s wife had “very, very serious” arm lacerations, while his 21-year-old son had wounds to his arm and back and his 18-year-old daughter had cuts to her hand and arm.
According to Fleming, Kefu and his family were startled awake by noises in their home and threatened when the intruders demanded their car keys.
Police were called to a “Buena Vista Avenue home at around 3 a.m. in relation to four people, a 47-year-old man, a 46-year-old woman, a 21-year-old man, and an 18-year-old woman who were injured by three intruders who were allegedly attempting to steal their car,” according to Queensland Police.
Neighbors were able to apprehend the intruders, one of whom was armed with a knife, according to Fleming.
The suspects were said to be armed with an axe, a knife, and a machete.
Two other family members who were present at the time were unharmed, according to police.
“The wounds are significant and my understanding is that everyone is going to survive, but the trauma, no doubt, will live with this family forever,” said Fleming.
In 2003, during a Tri-Nations test match between Australia and South Africa, Kefu was in action.
Following ongoing investigations into the alleged burglary and wounding in Coorparoo, police have charged a 15-year-old male with attempted murder.
Four counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault causing serious bodily harm, and one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, burglary, and deprivation of liberty have been laid against the 15-year-old. He was denied bail and is scheduled to appear in Brisbane Children’s Court.
After presenting himself injured at a South Brisbane hospital, a second 15-year-old boy was apprehended, while a third is believed to have fled in a stolen vehicle.
“It is very uncommon to have violence to this extreme with injuries to this extreme, but we do know some young people are carrying knives and weapons,” Fleming said.
Between 1997 and 2003, Kefu appeared in 60 tests for the Australian national rugby team, winning the Rugby World Cup in 1999. In 2016, he took over as coach of Tonga’s national team.
“Our thoughts are with Toutai and his entire family right now,” Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said. “It was shocking news to receive this morning. Toutai is a titan of our game — a warrior on the field and off it.
“To the Kefu family — the Australian Rugby community is here for you. We also want to extend that support to others affected as well. The Rugby family is a close-knit one and we always rally around each other when another is in need,” Marinos said.