South African lock Gerbrandt Grobler has been forced to defend his Limpopo farm from poachers during the Covid-19 lockdown.
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The 28-year-old, who plies his trade at Gloucester in England, caught the second-last flight out of the UK before travel restrictions were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with the UK-based Mail Online website, Grobler said he's spent the lockdown period mostly alone on his 4 700-acre farm, near the border between South Africa and Botswana.
With many South Africans facing starvation due to the effects of the lockdown, there has been a significant increase in poaching in Limpopo, one of the country's poorest provinces.
"People here are having to defend their land," Grobler said.
"There are guys illegally poaching for bush meat and selling it on for a lot of money. It normally happens once or twice a year but it’s becoming a regular thing.
"The other night, at around 00:30, I heard this commotion outside. Voices, dogs barking and a pig squealing. Sound travels clearly here so it was pretty scary. I put my shoes on and went out with my pistol. There’s three guys with spears trying to slaughter this animal. I ran at them and fired a few warning shots into the air.
"That was it. They dropped their s**t and ran. I went back in the morning and you could see their foot tracks in the dirt... one of them was wearing six-stud Kaiser football boots."
Grobler started his professional career at Western Province in 2012. In 2016 he went to France to play for Racing 92, before heading for Munster in Ireland the following year.
He has been on Gloucester's books since 2018.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff