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Monday, November 14, 2011

Solly Tyibilika scores on Springbok debut vs Scotland in 2004

It's been a tragic weekend for South African rugby as former Springbok flanker Solly Tyibilika was gunned down in a township in Cape Town on Sunday. He died aged 32. Here is a look at the try he scored on his Test debut, against Scotland in 2004.

As reported on Twitter and Facebook yesterday, former Sharks, Lions, and Springbok flanker Tyibilika was shot dead while having a drink with friends in a shebeen. The hunt for his killers is on, with varying rumours and unconfirmed reports suggesting that it was a deliberate hit.

It's a tragic occurence and one that has sent shockwaves around the rugby fraternity globally. Tyibilika, who most recently played club rugby and coached at Hamiltons in Cape Town, had risen through the ranks since first playing for Griquas almost ten years ago. He went on to play for the Sharks and Lions, where his tremendous work ethic and strong ball carrying didn't go unnoticed.

He made the step up to international rugby in 2004, making his debut against Scotland at Murrayfield, and went on to play eight test matches in total, scoring three tries. His last game was against the All Blacks in 2006, where he also scored. Another highlight for Tyibilika will have been playing for the Southern Kings against the British & Irish Lions on their 2009 tour of South Africa.

Tributes have poured in. Former agent Mike Makaab said that he always brought a smile to the faces of everyone around him. "I think a senseless crime like this just highlights the fact that unless we stop this sort of thing, our beautiful country is always going to be tarnished by the sort of people who behave in such a manner. My condolences go out to his family, and his friends - and may his soul rest in peace," he said.

SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said that Tyibilika led the way for black african rugby players. "I remember a very talented player and an immensely likeable young man who rose far and fast to become a Springbok early in his career. 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.

"The casual disregard for life in our society is shocking," added Hoskins, while players and former teammates expressed their shock and sympathies via Twitter.

Victor Matfield said: "How sad is it about Solly Tyibilika. Thinking of his family. We’ve got such a great country, if we can only sort out these terrible acts."

Sharks lock Ross Skeate said: "Terrible news about an amazing guy Solly Tyibilika leaving us. I’ll never forget spending three weeks in Romania with the man. RIP brother."

Former Golden Lions player Todd Clever said: "Heartbreaking news about Solly Tyibilika... My Brother, My friend and Teammate was killed today... R.I.P. #willneverforgetourtimes"

Born and raised in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Tyibilika's rugby journey took him around the country, and ultimately ended in Cape Town, where he now called home. He is survived by two young children, a boy and a girl, aged just two and nine months respectively.

Below is a look at the try he scored on his excellent Bok debut, where he became the first ever black African to score a Test try for the Springboks. May he Rest in Peace.

Posted by Rugbydump at 11:54 am | View Comments (18)

Viewing 18 comments

Ron_Mexico November 14, 2011 2:08 pm

May he rest in peace,

first black player to score a try? can this be right? How about players like breyton paulse?

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Malcolm Bradbrook November 14, 2011 2:13 pm

Chester Williams scored several tries in the World Cup in 1995

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Rugbydump November 14, 2011 2:21 pm

Neither are black Africans. They're both coloureds, or mixed race as it is called outside of South Africa. Both wonderful players who achieved a lot in their own right too.

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Malcolm Bradbrook November 14, 2011 5:23 pm

Cheers - interesting clarification

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Narapoia November 17, 2011 12:12 pm

Do you know the classification of Errol Tobias?
Not sure how he fits in but here's clip of him scoring against Englan din the 80s.


Pity about Solly - always sad to lose a rugby player.

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Rugbydump November 17, 2011 1:35 pm

'Non-white' so loosely referred to as 'black', but in South African terms, he's also coloured, which is an ethnic group and has a culture of it's own.


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Clayton November 14, 2011 2:23 pm

Neither Breyton Paulse nor Chester Williams would be classified as Black Africans, in SA they would be classified as coloureds. Both legends of the game and colour shouldnt matter, just a bit of a heads up.

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Ron_Mexico November 14, 2011 2:25 pm

@rugbydump: thanks for the clarification

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Xenophile November 14, 2011 3:01 pm

Very Sad to hear of Solly's passing. He was a great inspiration and player. Condolences to his family and friends. The rugby world has lost a great member. RIP Solly.

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Maximus November 14, 2011 6:42 pm

Sincere thoughts and support to his family from France.

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Pretzel November 14, 2011 11:15 pm

Sad time for all rugby fans.. really hits home the "its just a game" phrase when you hear something like this after all the bitching...

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 15, 2011 5:01 am

What with what happenned to that Venuzalian baseball player that plays in the US league being kidnapped when he visted home, but thankfully turned out alright But this is something else. If it was true he was targetted, then there are some really sick people about. Was he doing any social community work, and rubbed "certain people" up the wrong way? Just hope we get to know the full true story. But many people know that certain parts of SA are a real mess, in all ways, what with farmers having an armoury in their farmhouse just in case needed, and everything.

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flyingpepper November 15, 2011 5:09 am

Thoughts go out to his friends and family

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katman November 15, 2011 8:21 am

Don’t mean to sound disrespectful here, but Solly was arrested last month, along with two other guys, for carrying an unlicensed, concealed weapon. They were stopped when a cop became suspicious of their vehicle that was traveling slowly and without lights. He found an unlicensed pistol in the glove compartment of their car. They were due to appear in court in January.

But a few weeks ago, one of the three was shot dead. A week later, the second guy was killed - also by gunshot. And now Solly has been gunned down in what was clearly a targeted hit. The gunman even told patrons of the shebeen to move aside as he didn't have a gripe with them, only Solly.

Three suspects on the same firearms charge, all killed within three weeks of each other. Draw your own conclusions.

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SABloke November 16, 2011 11:29 pm

As Katman says, it seems Solly was mixed up with the wrong crowd and into things he shouldn't have been. SA is like the Wild West and if you mix with the wrong crowd and piss them off you end up dead. Same thing happened to a family member of mine because he owed someone a bit of money and couldn't pay it back he ended up being murdered in a similar manner.

Having said all of that, this is still a very tragic waste of a fine young rugby player, father and man. Nobody deserves what happened to Solly. Personally I thought he was a great player with huge potential when I first saw him play, unfortunately his Springbok career did not take off like we thought it might but I am totally shocked that everything has ended this way. Respect to him for what he did achieve in the world of rugby and thoughts go out to his two young children.

Hamba kahle Solly

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Pretzel November 17, 2011 4:22 pm

This is ofcourse a tragedy, and for what it's worth its sad that someone on this site (you) has experienced the kind of stuff going on there too.

Whilst we are all not trying to tarnish Solly's name, it is important that we all recognise (perhaps for ourselves or for other ex players) the dangers of what can happen in the world. I mean one minute the guy is playing for the highest level his country has to offer and the next he is shot dead, perhaps he wasn't as "nice" as people thought, or perhaps he did simply get in over his head over something. Sad as it is, it is an eye opener to the rest of the world.

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