Thursday 22 February 2018

Former Connacht captain 'kidnapped after antique shop robbery'

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Connacht lock Craig Clarke was the victim of a kidnapping after stopping to help two men at the side of the road, a court in New Zealand has heard.

According to Stuff.co.nz, Clarke, who played for the province in the 2013/14 season after captaining the Chiefs to a Super Rugby title, pulled over after two men waved 'frantically' at him to stop in South Taranaki.

What Clarke didn't know was that the men had just robbed an antique shop, and the duo forced then him to drive to a nearby town after pressing a weapon to his neck. They then made their escape before being arrested.

"I've got a couple of kids at home," Clarke told police he said to the men after they forced him to drive.

Details of the bizarre robbery and kidnapping, which took place in May 2016, emerged in New Plymouth Court today. A 72-year-old woman had been working alone in the antiques shop when it was robbed. The two men then escaped in a car, which subsequently ran out of petrol, causing them to leave on foot before flagging down Clarke.

The 33-year-old Clarke was forced to retire from rugby midway through his season with Connacht due to concussion issues. He was made captain early in his time in Galway by head coach Pat Lam, and led the province to one of their most famous victories away to Toulouse in the Heineken Cup.

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