Former Springboks hooker Naka Drotske risked his life to protect a woman and three children from a hail of bullets during a house robbery in South Africa.

47-year-old Drotske was shot twice when a heavily armed gang of robbers struck at the lifestyle property Drotske and a group of people – including former Springbok teammate Os du Randt – were gathered on Friday morning (NZT).

The property, just outside of Pretoria, belongs to Drotske's brother and business partner, Tinus.

According to Afrikaans website Netwerk24, Drotske had just returned from the airport when four suspects entered the property.

Apart from the three men, Tinus Drotske's partner, Nadia Jooste, and three children aged 7, 11, and 13 were also in the house.

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They were getting ready to have dinner when they heard Jooste scream and saw four men, wearing balaclavas and brandishing pistols, enter through a sliding door.

"One had tear gas and he went straight for Os' eyes," an emotional Tinus Drotske told Netwerk24.

"I think they were trying to take out the biggest guy first. They were shouting and waving their guns around.

"My brother jumped up just as they were spraying him [Du Randt]. He rugby tackled all four of them while trying to cover his eyes. He tackled them over the table and out the door. That's when three of them started shooting at him."

Drotske and Du Randt, who played a combined 106 tests for South Africa, forced the robbers to flee empty-handed.

Drotske also coached the Cheetahs' Super Rugby team between 2007 and 2015.

Only once the pair had returned to the house, did they realise Naka had been shot.

Du Randt raced Drotske to the nearest hospital.

Former Springbok teammates Naka Drotske and Os Du Randt survived an armed robbery in South Africa. Photo / Getty
Former Springbok teammates Naka Drotske and Os Du Randt survived an armed robbery in South Africa. Photo / Getty

"Naka told me to tell his wife [Marzanne] that he loved her. He thought he was going to die. One bullet was lodged just below his heart," Tinus Drotske told Netwerk24.

"He saved us. I don't know what would've happened had he not tackled them. He is my hero."

Drotske underwent emergency surgery and is in a stable condition.

Two suspects have since been arrested.