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Springbok international Solly Tyibilika shot dead - reports

The former South African flanker was killed in a shooting in a Cape Town bar yesterday, according to reports.

Image: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

TRIBUTES HAVE POURED in following the shooting dead of former South African international rugby player Solly Tyibilika. He was 32.

Reports indicate that Tyibilika, who won eight international caps for the Boks, was drinking with friends in a Cape Town bar yesterday afternoon when two gunmen opened fire on patrons.

Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk told South African media that one man had been injured while another, believed to be Tyibilika, had died at the scene though he did not confirm the victim’s identity.

Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), led the tributes to the flanker this morning.

“Solly was a trailblazer among black African Springboks and if the reports are correct, to lose him so suddenly and in this brutal manner is very distressing,” Hoskins said. “The casual disregard for life in our society is shocking.”

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 scored on his test debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2004. He last pulled on the famous green and gold jersey for a test against New Zealand in 2006, though he did line out for the Emerging Springboks in the IRB Nations Cup in 2007.

Tyibilika spent the 2011 season playing club rugby for Hamilton, where he also coached the U19 side. Club president Dave Kagan said that they had lost “one of our special players” yesterday.

He played an important role as a role model coaching our under-19s, helping us bridge and bring up players into the senior level. With his experience and demeanour, we cannot speak highly enough of him.

Read SARU’s statement in full here

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Niall Kelly

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