Former Springbok World Cup winner and Super Rugby coach Naka Drotske was pictured Saturday making a thumbs-up sign from his hospital bed after being shot during an armed robbery.
The 47-year-old was wounded in the abdomen and arm late Thursday at the home of his brother near Pretoria when he charged at three intruders, two of whom were armed.
After being rushed to hospital, Drotske was initially listed as “critical” but a hospital spokesperson confirmed to AFP Saturday that he was now “stable”.
“He’s doing much better this morning but he’s still in the intensive care unit and they’ve put him in isolation so that he can’t attract bacteria,” his brother, Tinus, told the Sunday Times.
He added they were grateful the bullets had missed vital body parts. “We were worried about the one that went through his intestines but he’s doing fine and is due for more operations on Thursday to fix his elbow that was hit by a bullet,” he said.
Many on social media hailed Drotske as a “hero” for tackling the three men and pushing them out of the house.
Drotske was shot three times during the melee and suffered a severe loss of blood while being rushed to hospital.
None of the other five people in the house, including former Springbok prop Os du Randt, were injured during the robbery.
Police said Friday they were questioning two men but no arrests had been made.
Former hooker Drotske was an unused substitute in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final won by hosts South Africa against greatest rivals New Zealand in Johannesburg.
Capped 26 times by South Africa, he was the first choice four years later when they finished third in defence of the title in England.
Drotske played for and coached the Bloemfontein-based Free State Cheetahs in the domestic Currie Cup and southern hemisphere Super Rugby competitions.
He also spent two seasons as a player with the London Irish club.
© Agence France-Presse