South Africa Rugby World Cup winner Drotske shot in robbery
Rugby World Cup winner Naka Drotske was shot three times after charging at armed robbers to force them out of his brother’s house in South Africa, police and a community safety official said.
Drotske was shot in the chest, arm, and abdomen but was in a stable condition in hospital on Friday after the attempted robbery at his brother’s smallholding just outside the capital Pretoria.
Police Capt. Kay Makhubele said three suspects with handguns broke into the house at around 10 p.m. on Thursday. Capt. Makhubele said Drotske was the only person hurt.
Drotske’s friend, Os du Randt, a teammate on the 1995 World Cup champion Springboks side, was also at the house, as was Drotske’s brother, Tinus, and Tinus’ children.
Community safety official Ian Cameron said three armed men wearing balaclavas, one of whom was using pepper spray, forced their way into the house. The 47-year-old Drotske then charged at them to push them out and was shot in a struggle on the verandah outside, he said. Cameron said Drotske lost “a lot of blood.”
Drotske was in a critical condition when he was admitted to the hospital, the South African rugby union said, but was stabilized in the intensive care unit.
“They’re worried about infection and bleeding, internal bleeding,” Tinus said. “He’s awake, and under the circumstances he’s doing really well. It’s a miracle that it missed all the vital organs.”
Harold Verster, the chief executive of the Cheetahs, the former provincial team of Drotske and du Randt, told News24 he spoke with du Randt.
“I had a chat with Os this morning. He is OK,” Verster told News24. “He said it was like a war zone with shots going off everywhere.”
Drotske played 26 times for the Springboks as a hooker from 1993-99. He was part of the squad that won the Rugby World Cup on home soil in 1995 and also played at the 1999 World Cup.
He played for the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs and Pretoria-based Bulls in South Africa and also had a spell with the London Irish club in England. He turned to coaching after retiring and coached the Cheetahs from 2007-15. Du Randt was part of his coaching team.
London Irish tweeted: “Our thoughts are with former London Irish player Naka Drotske after this shocking news.”
South Africa has a high rate of violent crime and sports figures have sometimes been victims.
Another ’95 Rugby World Cup winner, Hannes Strydom, was stabbed and had his skull fractured after six men attempted to hijack his car in Pretoria in 2014.
Former Springboks flanker Solly Tybilika was killed in what police described as a random shooting at a bar in Cape Town in 2011.
South Africa’s national soccer team captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed in a robbery on the outskirts of Johannesburg in 2014.