Devastating moment boy, 11, banned from rugby tournament for being 'too big'

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

A frustrated mother has shared footage of the moment her 11-year-old son was told by a Rugby Australia official that he was too big to play in an under-11 tournament in Sydney.

Ayla Hinekiteao, mother of 11-year-old Leonidas, posted the footage on Facebook after her son was pulled from the tournament, five games in to an eight-week series.

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The video shows an official from the NSW Waratahs informing the youngster he would not be allowed to play, leaving him visibly upset.

In the post, Ayla explained how she was well aware her son was larger than other players his age, but that he had been assessed to play under 12s, and had backed up the under-11s in the previous five games without incident.

11-year-old rugby player Leonidas Hinekiteao was left in tears after being told he couldn't continue playing in an under 11s tournament he had already participated in for five weeks, because he was too big. Picture: Facebook/Ayla Hinekiteao

“Just before the whistle blew an offical from Waratahs approached us to say the ‘big kid’ can’t play no more,” she wrote.

“My issue - if there was an issue with him playing in his own age group, don’t go and accept his registration and take my money.

“Call me to discuss this during the week don’t go and tell me my kids can’t play when he’s already tied his boots and is ready to kick off.

“Sorry for posting this Leo, but at the end of the day you are still A KID and CRYING because you don’t fully understand what is going on and why you cannot play is ALLOWED - 11 years old.”

The story was picked up by media in New Zealand, with Ayla going on Radio New Zealand to further elaborate on the situation.

She said her son had been left confused by what had happened.

“Seeing my child being told he cannot play, coming off the field balling his eyes out. How they just approached the whole situation ... I think it's pretty poor on their side," she said.

"There could've been other ways and methods that they could've gotten through to let us know that 'okay look we have a dispensation, he can not play,' and just gone about it that way instead of approaching us on game day.”