Siya Kolisi & others show support for boy bullied for being 'too big' for rugby team

28 January 2022 - 07:30
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Siya Kolisi.
Image: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Siya Kolisi.

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: