11-yo rugby player brought to tears after being told he was "too big to play" by tournament officials

Headlines 29/11/2019

An 11-year-old rugby player was reduced to tears after being told he was too big to play in a tournament in Australia.

New South Wales mother Ayla Hinekiteao said just before a game was due to kick off on November 17, an official approached them to say the "big kid" - her son Leo - could no longer participate.

Although Leo, who is of Māori-Cook Island descent, received a dispensation from the Sydney West Rugby Union to play in the tournament, he was still stopped from participating.

"We pulled Leo off the field. Then the official said 'no no he can play today but from next week onwards he will not be able to continue," Hinekiteao wrote on Facebook.

Leo didn't take to the field for the remainder of that game but courageously ran out with his teammates for the next match of the tournament an hour later. He was again ordered from the field.

"They wouldn't start the game until my son was off the field," the mother said.

"He [Leo] knows his [own] strength and knows how to use it when it comes to smaller or bigger kids," she wrote.

The Facebook post was accompanied by a video of the incident unfolding, showing her son being reduced to tears.

Hinekiteao heavily criticised the management of the tournament.

"He's [Leo] f**ken 11," she wrote. "They have treated him like an outcast.

"I cannot comprehend the amount of sh*t we have had to endure.

"Love you heaps Leo, you are a great player and even better human."

In a joint statement, the NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) and Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU) said the parents of those involved have been spoken to.

"While it is not NSWRU or SJRU intention to prevent any player from participating in rugby, the player involved had been previously assessed in accordance with the policy and it was deemed he was required to compete in an older age division," said the statement posted to the SJRU Facebook page.

"Despite several attempts to get in contact with all those involved, the matter was then required to be addressed at the competition in person.

"We recognise that perhaps further attempts could have been taken to speak to all those involved; family, players and club; to minimise impact to the player, his teammates and the wider competition."

Credit to Newshub