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RugbyU: South African flank Tyibilika murdered

Solly Tyibilika, the first black player to score a test try for the South African national rugby team, was shot dead Sunday in a tavern in Cape Town, police said Monday.

“Two unidentified males, both carrying firearms, entered the premises and randomly shot at the patrons,” police spokesman Frederick van Wyk told AFP.

He said Tyibilika, 32, was hit several times and killed. Two other victims were injured and taken to hospital.

The shooting happened at a bar in Gugulethu township, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cape Town. Police do not know the motive for the shooting and are looking for the two suspects, Van Wyk said.

The South African Rugby Union said it was shocked at the news.

“Solly was a trailblazer among black African Springboks,” Oregan Hoskins, the union’s president, said in a statement.

“To lose him so suddenly and in this brutal manner is very distressing.”

Tyibilika made his professional debut for Griquas in 2001 before moving to the Lions and the Sharks.

He made his test debut in 2004 against Scotland in Edinburgh, scoring a milestone try that felled a racial barrier in a sport long considered the exclusive domain of South Africa’s white population.

He played eight tests in all, scoring three tries in a career that stumbled after a promising start, but which he had been trying to revive.