Solly Tyibilika was shot and killed in Cape Town on Saturday night.
The news broke via Twitter on Sunday that the 32-year-old Tyibilika had been murdered on Saturday. Supersport commentator Kaunda Ntunja said on his Twitter account: ‘Makhaya Jack [a former SARU player and currently a Supersport commentator] has just come from Sollys home in PE and he has confirmed…Solly Tyibilika has passed away.’
It has now been confirmed that Tyibilika was shot at a tavern in the Cape Town township of Gugulethu. Police confirmed a shooting but had not formally identified the victim on Saturday night.
A witness from the scene told the Daily Voice: ‘This was not a robbery because they left all the other patrons alive and killed him – there was no conversation, they just shot him. And Solly clearly didn’t expect it because he didn’t show any sign of fear while sitting there.’
A number of coaches and players have expressed their sadness on social networking sites, and Saru has also released a statement lamenting the loss of an important player.
‘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. The casual disregard for life in our society is shocking,’ said Regan Hoskins, president of Saru.
‘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 likeable young man who rose far and fast to become a Springbok early in his career.’
Tyibilika played eight games for his country, the last of which was as far back as 2006. He struggled to play regularly at Super Rugby level after that, and was until recently coaching the U19A side at Cape Town club Hamiltons.