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Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu is "expected to recover" after being hospitalised for stab wounds, after being attacked in a home-invasion in Brisbane.

The Tonga head coach was rushed to surgery with life-threatening injuries, after trying to defend his family during a break-in.

However, police say he is expected to survive, having initially been in a critical condition.

Australian media say three men broke into the family home in a Brisbane suburb in the early hours of Monday morning, before stabbing Kefu when he confronted them, with a knife and an axe recovered from the scene.

Kefu's wife and children also suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the attack, with his wife sustaining a "significant" arm injury", while his son suffered lacerations to his back and abdomen and his daughter a hand injury.

Two teenagers have been arrested following the incident, with neighbours intervening and apprehending them before police arrived, while a third man is believed to still be on the run, having escaped in a stolen car.

"The information police received that people unknown to the family had entered the house and people had been stabbed," said detective superintendent Tony Fleming.

"I understand the residents of the house woke to noises inside the house and one of the adults went to investigate those noises.

"I understand that person was accosted by at least one of the offenders in the premises and threatened to be stabbed if they didn’t hand over vehicle keys.

"Other members of the family came to that person’s aid and during this time very significant injuries occurred to the family as a result of what we will allege is the actions of the offenders who have broken into the family’s home this morning," he added.

According to police, Kefu is expected to recover, while his family members also suffered significant injuries.

"The mother has suffered very very serious lacerations to her arm.

"I’m told that her wounds are very significant.

"Two children, young adults have been the victims of the offences as well. The adult male suffered terrible wounds to his arm and back," Supt Fleming added.

Toutai Kefu is currently head coach of his birth-country Tonga, but is a Wallabies legend, having played a major role in their 1999 World Cup success.

Kefu played 60 times for Australia from 1997 to 2003, scoring 10 tries.

He also won two Tri-Nations titles with the Wallabies, and started all three tests of their 2001 Lions series win.

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