Justin Marshall reveals 'regret' over Toutai Kefu's stabbing news
All Blacks legend Justin Marshall has revealed he has “regrets” after hearing that Wallabies great Toutai Kefu is fighting for his life after being stabbed during a home invasion.
Kefu was rushed to hospital after he was stabbed while defending his family from three home invaders in Brisbane on Monday.
The 47-year-old, who is the head coach of Tonga, is reportedly in a serious condition with abdominal wounds, while Kefu’s wife and two children also suffered lacerations and injuries to their arm, back, abdominals and hand.
Speaking to Fox Sports in the wake of the news, Marshall, who described his relationship with Kefu as “great”, said he “regrets” his brief interaction with the Tonga boss when they crossed paths prior to the All Blacks vs Fiji and Manu Samoa vs ‘Ikale Tahi double-header in Hamilton last month.
“This is why I talk with some regret because you hear news like we’ve heard today and it’s really shocked me and has thrown me, but my point is I saw him about three weeks ago in the tunnel before Hamilton when they were playing a test match there,” Marshall said.
“The thing about that is, you sometimes look back at things with guilt, and I’m looking back at that encounter with guilt.
“I know Kef really well and we’ve got a great relationship and I was in a hurry, we had a team meeting upstairs and had a rehearsal and he was just casually standing outside the change room and we stopped and chatted, but I didn’t get to ask him a lot of the things that I wanted to ask him.
“I said, ‘Sorry, but I’ve got to go, I’m late for rehearsal’. I didn’t get to see him again and the news that I’m hearing today, it leaves me with regret that I didn’t have the time to ask him about him and his family.
“I basically asked him, ‘How’s the coaching going, how are you finding it, are you enjoying New Zealand?’ And then I said, ‘Sorry mate, I have to go’.
“That always leaves you with a bit of emptiness when you hear the details and he’s basically fighting for his life and his family has been harmed and you think, ‘I wish I had taken more time to talk to him’.”
Marshall, the 81-test halfback who played for the All Blacks between 1995 and 2005, squared off against Kefu, who played 60 tests for the Wallabies between 1997 and 2003, many times throughout his career at both Super Rugby and international level.
Perhaps the most notable moment the two shared on the rugby field came during the 2001 Bledisloe Cup series, when Kefu crossed for the match-winning try in the dying stages of the final match of that year’s Tri-Nations.
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Kefu’s try in Sydney gave the Wallabies a 29-26 win over the All Blacks, which ensured Australia a Bledisloe Cup whitewash over their Kiwi counterparts.
Marshall unsuccessfully tried to stop Kefu in the lead-up to his decisive try, and the 48-year-old said that play has remained at the forefront of his Bledisloe Cup memories.
“That is very much part of my regular life really because I always tell that story of him pipping us at the post and Kef was the guy who scored that try and I was the guy underneath him hoping to prevent it and he got the better moment of me,” Marshall told Fox Sports.
“So, he’s very much in my every day when I think about telling stories, particularly when it relates to the Bledisloe.
“Those days were great days and when you hear news like you heard today, it always puts you in a frame of mind that you just can’t believe what you’re hearing to be honest.”
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