Siya Kolisi & others show support for boy bullied for being 'too big' for rugby team
Several SA rugby players have rallied behind a UK boy whose father shared that he was bullied for being “too big” to play in his age group.
Mark Pugsley, the father of 12-year-old Alfie, shared on Twitter that he had removed a Facebook post because “an idiot commented saying my boy is too ‘big’ to play under 12s and isn’t healthy”.
“If only people knew how hard he works to get fitter and how low his confidence has been. Don't worry, Alfie. I'll always be your biggest fan,” Pugsley wrote in the now-viral Twitter post.
The tweet sparked a flurry of responses from players, including Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, retired Springbok player Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira, Welsh former international rugby referee Nigel Owens, and World Rugby.
The All Blacks, England and Ireland teams also offered Alfie words of encouragement.
“Alfie, I’m proud of you for being a true champion through your hard work and determination. Keep doing what you do and don’t let anyone tell you who you can’t be. Never make yourself small because of small-minded people,” said Kolisi.
“Hey Alfie, rugby is an amazing sport and as long as you are having fun, that's all that matters. Wherever rugby takes you, enjoy every minute, keep working hard and know you have a lot of people supporting you all the way,” wrote World Rugby.
Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions:
Alfie, I’m proud of you for being a true champion through your hard work and determination. Keep doing what you do and don’t let anyone tell you who you can’t be. Never make yourself small because of small-minded people. Dlala kwekwe kulate ngoku to waste time on haters. https://t.co/hMY39nGpey pic.twitter.com/GLtGtTnR8V— Siya Kolisi (@SiyaKolisi) January 26, 2022
Alfie mate, you keep enjoying the rugby. Always try your best, but always enjoy it. Your doing well keep going. I’ll come along to ref one of your games one day and will look forward to it. Keep smiling my friend 🏉— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) January 23, 2022
Big fella you have my support. I walked this road too once upon a time when people silently bullied me about my size and questioned whether I was the correct age for my age group. Keep your head high and never let the haters get to you. The game of rugby is for all 👊🏽😉. https://t.co/abipxJHLma— Tendai Mtawarira (@Beast_TM) January 24, 2022
Keep on going Alfie you champion!!! Wonderful to hear of your passion, commitment and love for the game of rugby!!— Bryan Habana (@BryanHabana) January 26, 2022
You keep doing you!!!!
Alfie, we’re behind you.— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) January 24, 2022
Be proud of who you are, because you’re amazing.
Be proud to have the most wonderful dad in the world.
Don’t forget that, whoever you are, or where you come from, we’ll welcome you.
𝗕𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗯𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲.
We love you ❤️ https://t.co/1ju1vtV0EP
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