11-Year-Old Boy Cries After Being Asked To Leave A Match For Being Too Big
At a recent Union rugby competition, 11-year-old Leonidas Hinekiteao was devastated when officials pulled him off of the field for being too big compared to his young competitors. Leonidas was removed from the game during the fifth match of the Springs Sevens tournament in Sydney.
The young man had been playing with his teammates in earlier rounds of the season.
In this game, however, an official removed him from the game before the kickoff commenced. The official explained that he was twice the size of his competitors, and the size difference was against the established policies set forth in the Rugby Australia codes, as reported here at News.com.au.
The Rugby Australia size for age policy states that players in age groups under 15 have to be evaluated for their height and weight, and they cannot play if their size exceeds set guidelines. If players are above the limit for their age group, they can be moved up to a maximum of two grades higher.
In the category that Leonidas plays in, the limits are 164 cm in height and 64 kg in weight.
The New South Wales Rugby Union issued a statement that condoned the official's decision to remove the boy from the game, stating that it was necessary for everyone to be able to enjoy playing in a safe manner.
No actual measurements were taken of the boy's height or weight during the game. The decision was made purely on a visual appraisal of the young man.
His mother went on Facebook and revealed that the boy had been cleared by the Union in regard to his size, and was placed in the under-12 league. She posted a video of her son in tears after being taken out of the game.
Ayla, the boy's mother, is from Christchurch, New Zealand. She reported that an official came to her and said the "big kid" can't play anymore. This was prompted by a complaint from the opposing team, even though he was allowed to play on that occasion.
She pointed out that the organization accepted the boy and took her money only to eject him during an important match. It was poor management to allow the boy to gear up and go on the field before making the determination about his size.
Leonidas tried again to take the field after he had been removed from the game that day. The official would not start the game until the boy left the field. In a show of support, his teammates left the field with him and forfeited the game in a demonstration of the poor ethics of the game officials.
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