In an act of pure heroism, former Springbok hooker Naka Drotské saved his family from an armed robbery on Thursday evening as he tackled four armed suspects, pushing them out of the house.
Drotské was about to have dinner on his brother's smallholding on the outskirts of Pretoria, along with former teammate Springbok prop Os du Randt, when the four suspects, clad in balaclavas, stormed into the house.
Drotské's brother, Tinus who was at the house with his two minor sons, his girlfriend Nadia Jooste and her 7-year-old daughter, was visibly shaken as he recounted the events to media at the plot in Kameeldrift.
"My brother (Drotské) dropped his sons at the airport and he was back for about 15 minutes
"The food was ready and we were just about to eat when we heard voices from outside and then we were attacked by four armed men, wearing balaclavas," said Tinus.
Tinus said that all the suspects wear armed with 9mm hand guns, and that, as they entered the house, the sprayed tear gas into the room where he, Drotské, Du Randt and Jooste were sitting.
Drotské shot three times
"Nadia was at the other door to close it, she froze, so I stood up and thought they were going to shoot because they had these 9mms in our faces, so I stood over her to protect her.
"The next moment Naka charged the suspects, rugby tackling them out of the house, over the tables outside."
Tinus explained that as Drotské tackled all four suspects, getting the armed intruders away from his family, they opened fire on Drotské, hitting him three times. As the shots were fired, Du Randt ran outside, but the suspects had already fled by then.
During the attack, Tinus' two sons and Jooste's daughter were watching a movie in another room. As the shots went off, Jooste's daughter wanted to run to her mother, but Tinus' eldest son, who is 13, stopped her and with quick presence of mind, phoned the police and pressed the panic button.
Tinus' neighbour who also heard the shots and the alarm ran outside with his firearm and discharged two warning shots.
Just five minutes after the attack, Du Randt left with Drotské, to rush him to hospital. On the way, however, the towering prop and resilient hooker got into an accident.
"They were about 3km away from the hospital and there was an accident, they drove over an island and the tyres burst," said Jooste.
"So Os jumped in front of a car to stop people to get Naka to hospital. Os thought very quickly."
Os then stopped a second car, so he could get to the hospital to be with his teammate.
"The doctor mentioned if we had to wait for an ambulance, Naka would have died of blood loss, the doctors said that he had already lost a third of his blood," Tinus said.
Tinus said that his brother was still in a critical state, with doctors worried about internal bleeding and infection, but that he was awake and doing well under the circumstances.
"It is a miracle that [the bullets] missed all the vital organs, thanks to God."
Drotské was shot in the stomach and intestines, one of the bullets hit his elbow and then ricocheted into his chest.
He is currently in intensive care at the Montana Netcare Hospital.
On Friday police confirmed that two men had been taken in for questioning in connection with the shooting.
Police stressed that the two men had not been arrested for the attack.
News24 visited the smallholding where the shooting happened and officers could be seen combing the scene for forensic evidence.
It's understood detectives found a glove which will be sent for DNA testing.
READ MORE: SA Rugby wishes Drotske a speedy recovery
Officers also found spent bullet casings, but it's unclear whether these are from bullets fired by the attackers or from those fired by a neighbour as warning shots.
The suspects also cut part of a fence to enter the property and the braai area and the stoops showed signs of a struggle with broken plates and a small amount of blood splatter on the floor.
Tinus explained that this was not their first run-in with criminals on the small holding and that this is the third robbery on the plot in the last six weeks.
"We recently had a break in where we were luckily behind a security gate," Tinus said.
He added that his neighbour was recently also accosted by robbers in his house and that they were woken up after the neighbour fired shots.
"It is just so unnecessary, we live in this beautiful land, but something has got to give, people can't be victims. I mean you can't even braai.
"It is very difficult, we enjoy it here, the space and beautiful terrain, but we can't live here. I need to think about my girlfriend, Nadia, her daughter and my sons."
"I love my land, but when will it stop."