The worst appears to be over for Toutai Kefu as the Australia great revealed he and his children are out of hospital and “doing well” after they were victims of a home burglary gone wrong.
Rugby fans were hit by news that the Tonga head coach had suffered ‘life-threatening’ stab wounds early on Monday morning when three teenagers invaded his Brisbane residence.
Kefu’s son, Josh, daughter Madi and wife Rachel were also seriously harmed in the attack, with his spouse being the only one among the quartet yet to leave hospital following her injuries.
The former 60-cap international took to Facebook on Wednesday thanking the public for their support: “Wow. Humbling to see the outpouring of love and well wishes from family, friends, community members and the general public.
“We are all doing well. Josh, Madi & myself are out of hospital and we’re hoping Rach will be able to join us tomorrow (Thursday). We just want to say thank you for everyone’s support we feel very lucky and grateful. The Kefu’s.”
Two 15-year-old boys were arrested in relation to the home invasion on Monday, one of whom was charged with attempted murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, breaking and entering, along with several other offences.
Another 13-year-old boy alleged to have been part of the bungled burglary was arrested following a brief search on Tuesday, when he was refused bail and appeared at Brisbane Children's Court.
Josh, 21, reportedly suffered stab and slash wounds to his back and arm, while 18-year-old Madi was injured on her arm and hand.
Kefu’s partner, Rachel, is the last to return home after she was transported to a different hospital. Queensland Police detective superintendent Tony Fleming revealed shortly after the attack that she had suffered “very, very serious lacerations” on her arm.
One of the rugby icon’s other daughters, Olivia, provided a positive update on the family’s condition on Tuesday, writing: "Both Josh and Dad had their surgeries yesterday and are recovering well. Madi and Mum will have their operations this morning.
”Thank you to everyone for all the kind messages and support, it means the absolute world to us all.”
It’s hoped Kefu will make a full recovery after being stabbed in the abdomen and once in the liver, with attention even turning to Tonga’s tour of the northern hemisphere in a few months.
The ‘Ikale Tahi—whom Kefu has coached since 2016—are due to face Scotland, England, Uruguay and Romania across October and November.
And Tonga Rugby Union chief executive, Peter Harding, told ABC’s Pacific Beat Kefu has been in contact and could still be a part of their tour: "We are looking at contingency plans, in the event that Toutai doesn't tour, but nothing will be decided until he can be part of those plans.”
Kefu made more than 100 appearances for the Queensland Reds and was part of Australia’s last truly dominant era, beating New Zealand to win the Bledisloe Cup five years running.
He lifted the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and was also part of the Wallabies team that defeated the British and Irish Lions in 2001, their first series win over the tourists in more than 70 years.
"He was such an iconic player, and in an era when Australian rugby was at its strongest ever, and not only that…there's a real Tongan friendliness about him,” Harding added.
"He makes friends wherever he goes, and people remember him."
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