BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rugby World Cup winner Toutai Kefu is slowly recovering after he and other members of his family were seriously injured during an armed home invasion.
The 47-year-old Kefu, who won the 1999 Rugby World Cup and played 60 test matches in the forward pack for Australia, has been head coach of Tonga’s national team since 2016.
On Friday, Kefu said he was still having “outbursts of crying” after he sustained wounds to his abdomen while trying to defend his family in their home in the Brisbane suburb of Cooparoo about 3 a.m. Monday.
Kefu’s wife Rachel will be in hospital for another two weeks. His son Josh and daughter Maddi were also stabbed in the attack.
Four teenage boys, aged between 13 and 15, have been charged with a total of 44 offenses, including attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
“I’m taking it day-by-day,” Kefu said. “At times you just, you know, there’s outbursts of crying.”
Kefu said the incident began when his wife woke up after hearing a noise, which she mistook for an animal outside. When she went downstairs to investigate, she came upon three teens and screamed out, waking up her husband.
Kefu said when he saw how young the intruders were he was initially shocked. But then the situation took a chilling turn when the intruders started attacking him and his wife with a machete and an ax.
The 21-year-old Josh was woken by the commotion and helped take on the attackers, Kefu said.
“He absolutely went into beast mode,” Kefu said “I had the two intruders on me and he just jumped in with no fear, and he copped a couple of hacks to his back. It could have been certainly a different outcome if he didn’t turn up. He had no thought for his own safety.”
A neighbor, reported to be related to Kefu’s former Wallabies teammate Brendan Cannon, tackled one the boys on the sidewalk and held him until police arrived. Another of the boys was taken into custody after seeking medical attention at a nearby hospital.
The boys have been held in custody to appear in a children’s court which bars media attendance.