Rugby stars support boy trolled by Facebook ‘idiot’ for being too large to play on under 12s team 


A boy who was trolled on Facebook for being ‘too big’ to play for his under-12s rugby team has received an incredible outpouring of support from some of the world’s biggest rugby stars.

Young player Alfie, who plays for Oakdale RFC in Caerphilly, Wales, was targeted by an ‘idiotic’ online troll as a result of his weight, according to a tweet published over the weekend by his father Mark.

Mark Pugsley’s tweet read: ‘Had to remove a post from Facebook as 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.’ 

The loving father’s frustrated outburst was quickly met with messages of love and support from social media users, but Alfie’s plight went viral and attracted the attention of some of rugby’s true greats.

Now, Alfie has received an incredible outpouring of support and inspirational messages from the likes of Double World Cup winner Jerome Kaino of New Zealand, World Cup winning loosehead prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira of South Africa, and former England and British and Irish Lions prop Alex Corbisiero, to name a few.

Plenty of famous Welshmen from the world of rugby, including Wales’ lightning winger Louis-Rees Zammit, fullback Liam Williams, former rugby union and league star Jonathan Davies, and legendary referee Nigel Owens also extended their support. 

Mark Pugsley’s tweet read: ‘Had to remove a post from Facebook as 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.’

Young player Alfie, who plays for Oakdale RFC in Caerphilly, Wales, was targeted by an 'idiotic' online troll as a result of his weight, according to a tweet published over the weekend by his father Mark

Young player Alfie, who plays for Oakdale RFC in Caerphilly, Wales, was targeted by an ‘idiotic’ online troll as a result of his weight, according to a tweet published over the weekend by his father Mark

World Cup winning loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, known as 'The Beast' for his incredible size, responded: '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.'

World Cup winning loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, known as ‘The Beast’ for his incredible size, responded: ‘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.’

All Blacks two-time World Cup winner Jerome Kaino wrote: 'Hey Alfie, you keep having loads of fun & working hard mate, our beautiful game is for ALL genders, people from ALL walks of life & also ALL shapes & sizes, keep that smile on your face brother & keep up the awesome work.'

All Blacks two-time World Cup winner Jerome Kaino wrote: ‘Hey Alfie, you keep having loads of fun & working hard mate, our beautiful game is for ALL genders, people from ALL walks of life & also ALL shapes & sizes, keep that smile on your face brother & keep up the awesome work.’

Alex Corbisiero, former loosehead prop for England and the British and Irish Lions, even shared a picture of himself as a young player on the larger side with a message of support. 'Hi Mark, please show this to Alfie, I heard very similar things when I was younger, Alfie keep working hard, you will have the last laugh and I promise this experience will make you a better person later in your life. Keep smiling,' he wrote.

 Alex Corbisiero, former loosehead prop for England and the British and Irish Lions, even shared a picture of himself as a young player on the larger side with a message of support. ‘Hi Mark, please show this to Alfie, I heard very similar things when I was younger, Alfie keep working hard, you will have the last laugh and I promise this experience will make you a better person later in your life. Keep smiling,’ he wrote.

World Cup winning loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, known as ‘The Beast’ for his incredible size, responded: ‘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.’ 

All Blacks two-time World Cup winner Jerome Kaino wrote: ‘Hey Alfie, you keep having loads of fun & working hard mate, our beautiful game is for ALL genders, people from ALL walks of life & also ALL shapes & sizes, keep that smile on your face brother & keep up the awesome work.’ 

And Alex Corbisiero, former loosehead prop for England and the British and Irish Lions, even shared a picture of himself as a young player on the larger side with a message of support.

‘Hi Mark, please show this to Alfie, I heard very similar things when I was younger, Alfie keep working hard, you will have the last laugh and I promise this experience will make you a better person later in your life. Keep smiling,’ he wrote.  

Alfie has also received messages of goodwill and kind words from several sporting icons who made their name away from the rugby field, including Welsh former cruiserweight boxing champion Enzo Maccarinelli and former Liverpool and England footballer Robbie Fowler. 

Many of the well-wishers also offered Alfie and his dad a variety of gifts and fantastic opportunities – Louis Rees-Zammit offered to bring Alfie to watch a game of premiership rugby at Gloucester, while former Wales player and British and Irish Lion Andy Powell said he would coach a session at Oakdale RFC.

Plenty of famous Welshmen from the world of rugby, including former rugby union and league star Jonathan Davies, and legendary referee Nigel Owens also extended their support

Plenty of famous Welshmen from the world of rugby, including former rugby union and league star Jonathan Davies, and legendary referee Nigel Owens also extended their support

Wales' lightning winger Louis-Rees Zammit chipped in with kind words of support and offered Alfie an opportunity to watch a Gloucester match

Wales’ lightning winger Louis-Rees Zammit chipped in with kind words of support and offered Alfie an opportunity to watch a Gloucester match

Welsh fullback Liam Williams also tweeted a message of support, to which Mark replied he and Alfie were 'star struck'

Welsh fullback Liam Williams also tweeted a message of support, to which Mark replied he and Alfie were ‘star struck’

Alfie has also received messages of goodwill and kind words from several sporting icons who made their name away from the rugby field, including Welsh former cruiserweight boxing champion Enzo Maccarinelli and former Liverpool and England footballer Robbie Fowler, who said 'Social media channels are full of nuggets'

Alfie has also received messages of goodwill and kind words from several sporting icons who made their name away from the rugby field, including Welsh former cruiserweight boxing champion Enzo Maccarinelli and former Liverpool and England footballer Robbie Fowler, who said ‘Social media channels are full of nuggets’

Former Wales player and British and Irish Lion Andy Powell said he would coach a session at Oakdale RFC

Former Wales player and British and Irish Lion Andy Powell said he would coach a session at Oakdale RFC

Mark’s tweet has now been has been liked more than 195,000 times, with a flood of messages backing up Alfie’s father who responded to one message of support by saying ‘it baffles me that a so-called adult who doesn’t even know Alfie took time out of his day to try and belittle him on Facebook’.

‘Luckily he didn’t see the comments on Facebook, he’s at an age where he’s very body conscious but he’s enjoying his rugby this season.’

Alfie’s rugby club said he was a ‘well respected and key member of our team and above all a lovely young man’.

Dana Johnson, who is involved with Oakdale RFC, said: ‘On behalf of the Oakdale U12’s coaches and myself please know Alfie has the support of us all, he’ll always be on the right side of our big red wall. Much love Alfie boy.’  

Even celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr got in touch with Mark to offer kind words to his son. 

Former England international Brian Moore tweeted: ¿I know it¿s hard to ignore the bad comments but they come from idiots who try to make themselves feel better by running down other people,¿ he said.

Former England international Brian Moore tweeted: ‘I know it’s hard to ignore the bad comments but they come from idiots who try to make themselves feel better by running down other people,’ he said.

Even celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr got in touch with Mark to offer kind words to his son

Even celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr got in touch with Mark to offer kind words to his son

‘I’d have you in my team Alfie,’ Roux Jr tweeted, to which Mark responded: ‘actually [Alfie] wants to be a chef when he grows up’.

Mark has responded to many of the message, thanking members of the local community and some of the sporting world’s biggest stars in kind, but waves of support are still flooding in.

Mark told The Times: ‘I’ve had so many people from the rugby community reach out with such positive messages. Rugby twitter community is the best. I’ll take the hate on one of my many chins. We’ve been blown away with everyone’s kind words.’ 



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