Solly Tyibilika

Johannesburg - The South African Rugby Union (Saru) is dismayed at the killing of former Springbok flank Solly Tyibilika.

South African media reports said the 32-year-old was shot dead in a tavern on Sunday and Saru president Oregan Hoskins described the player, who was the first black player to score a try for the Springboks, as a trailblazer among black Springboks.

“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.

“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 likable young man who rose far and fast to become a Springbok early in his career,” he said.

Tyibilika, who was born in Port Elizabeth, started playing rugby in high school. He made his professional debut for Griquas in 2001. He also played for the Lions and the Sharks.

Tyibilika played his first game for the Springboks against Scotland in 2004 and scored on his debut. He went on to win eight caps, scoring three tries.

His last club was Hamiltons in Cape Town, for whom he played in the 2011 season.

Tyibilika, who leaves his wife and two children, scored 24 tries in 158 first-class appearances for Griquas, Sharks, Lions and Border. He played 16 games for the Sharks in Vodacom Super Rugby. - Sapa-dpa