Wallabies great Toutai Kefu has opened up about the violent home invasion which left him fighting for life and the benefit his eldest son gained as a result of jumping to his parents’ defence that terrifying night.
The Australian rugby union legend, 47, wife Rachel, 46, son Josh, 21, daughter Madi, 18, were injured after a gang of teens allegedly attacked them with an axe, a machete and a knife in their Brisbane home in the early hours of August 16.
Six weeks on, a shaken Kefu still suffers nightmares about the terrifying night he was attacked, where he grabbed a stool and lunged at the armed teens in a desperate bid to protect his family.
But his sense of humour is still intact, joking his wife still yells at him and that his son Josh gained a girlfriend out of the harrowing ordeal.
Toutai Kefu (pictured with his children three days after the home invasion) still suffers nightmares from the terrifying attack
‘The kids are fine. You know, my eldest son, I think he’s adapted well. He’s got a girlfriend out of it actually so my wife’s happy,’ Kefu told the Today show on Tuesday.
He appeared on the program with neighbour Ben Cannon, who rushed to the family’s aid in the middle of the night and crash-tackled one of the alleged intruders after hearing their bloodcurling screams.
‘Things like this shouldn’t be happening and that’s the reason for coming on today and talking about it,’ Kefu said.
‘It’s from what I’ve seen in the past and even now, it’s been happening quite often, you know, home invasions, car thefts.
‘You know, a home should be your castle. That’s where you live. It should be a place of safety.
‘So I was actually really, really surprised to confront those kids that night.’
He had woken to the terrified screams of his wife, who had gone downstairs after hearing a noise.
Kefu (left) revealed his eldest son Josh (right) gained a girlfriend out of the terrifying attack. Wife Rachel and daughter Madi (also pictured) were also injured
Kefu was shocked when he realised how young the alleged intruders were.
‘They would have been to my eyes, 15-16 years old, but they were wielding a knife and a machete,’ he recalled.
‘We asked them to leave and we actually backtracking towards the kitchen and I walked past the front door and said, ‘There’s the door, leave now. Cut your losses’, but they were quite agitated and the older one kept lunging at us.
‘He first lunged at Rach, and got her on the arm, and then I grabbed a stool and basically just charged them both.’
His son rushed downstairs and began wrestling with one of the intruders as he confronted another.
‘There was blood everywhere at this stage,’ Kefu said.
‘He got away from me and ran out the front door, I slipped and chased him but when I got up, he slipped as well around the front door and that’s when – that’s when my neighbour was running up the front steps and crash-tackled him, pinned him down.
‘Then I turned around and ran back inside to help my son.’
Toutai Kefu praised the actions of neighbour Ben Cannon (right), who rushed to the family’s aid and crash-tackled one of the victims
Kefu’s neighbour recalled the horrific scene he was confronted with.
‘There was lots and lots of blood. It’s a thing that we shouldn’t, you know, you’re not supposed to kind of have happen in your home it unfortunately did,’ Mr Cannon said
Kefu hailed his neighbour as a hero.
‘To see him come up the front stairs, his timing was absolutely perfect,’ he said
‘If he wasn’t there, who knows what might have happened.’
Kefu said he ‘wasn’t too bad’ despite being rushed to hospital in a critical condition with abdominal wounds. He was discharged from hospital three days later.
‘I was more probably worried about the other family members. My son got cut pretty badly on his back but everything worked out all well,’ he said.
He said his wife suffered the worst injuries and still has one arm in a cast.
It’s not yet known whether Rachel Kefu (pictured with her husband) will regain full use of her injured arm
‘We’re still not sure whether she can get full use out of her hand but fingers crossed, we hope she gets her cast off in a couple of weeks,’ Kefu said
‘We’re just working with the therapist and hoping with all the treatment over the next six months she can get close to full use of her hand.
‘But she’s okay and back to normal. She’s screaming at me and yelling at the kids.’
Four alleged offenders, aged between 13 and 15, have been charged with a total of 44 offences including attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. They’re currently before the courts.
Toutai Kefu (pictured with his family) was forced to confront a group of intruders and lunged at them with a stool
The incident rocked the local community in Brisbane’s south-east where the Kefu family lives. One resident described him as a ‘well respected gentle giant.’
Kefu also reportedly spent up to $4,000 upgrading security at his home after it was broken into last year.
The forward played 60 Tests for the Wallabies between 1997 and 2003 and was a key part of Australia’s World Cup winning side in 1999.
The Tongan-born star memorably scored a last-minute try as Australia won the Bledisloe Cup against New Zealand in 2001.
He is the most-capped Wallaby No. 8 ever, and has been head coach of the Tongan national team since 2016.
The rugby union legend played 60 Tests for the Wallabies