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Former Springbok shot dead

14 November 2011, 10:19

Cape Town - The SA Rugby Union (SARU) on Sunday expressed its dismay at the murder of former Springbok loose-forward Solly Tyibilika.

According to reports, Tyibilika was shot dead at a tavern in Cape Town.

A Western Cape police spokesperson said two armed men had entered a tavern in Gugulethu and began shooting randomly.

"Two patrons were wounded and one of them, in his early 30s, died on the scene," he said.

“Solly was a trailblazer among black African Springboks and... to lose him so suddenly and in this brutal manner is very distressing," said SARU president Oregan Hoskins.

"The casual disregard for life in our society is shocking ,” he added.

“His emergence was a demonstration of what can be achieved when talent is combined with opportunity in what is always a very competitive position in Springbok rugby. I remember a very talented player and an immensely likable young man who rose far and fast to become a Springbok early in his career.”

Tyibilika was born in Port Elizabeth and first played rugby at Loyiso High School in the Zwide Township. He made his professional debut for Griquas in 2001 before moving on to the Lions and the Sharks.

He made his Test debut in 2004 against Scotland in Edinburgh, earning the distinction of scoring a try on his first appearance to achieve the significant milestone in rugby history of becoming the first black African to score a Test try for the Springboks.

He played in eight Tests in total - scoring three tries - the last of them against New Zealand in Pretoria in 2006.

He moved to the Lions in 2007 but never settled in Johannesburg and re-emerged in his native Eastern Cape playing for Border between 2008 and 2010, captaining the Bulldogs from time to time. He had spent the 2011 season playing club rugby for Hamiltons in Cape Town.

He made 158 first-class appearances in all, scoring 24 tries, for the Sharks, Griquas, Lions and Border, including 16 appearances in Super Rugby for the Sharks.

- Source: Sport24


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