October 19, 2021
Flying Fijians and London Irish flanker Albert Tuisue has forgiven a young player who racially abused him on Instagram after their match against the Newcastle Falcons.
Tuisue in an interview with The Telegraph said his abuser was a young player and he wants him to continue playing rugby and make a future for himself.
The former Fijian Police constable informed the club after the incident and a police investigation was launched, with the perpetrator identified as a young rugby player.
Two Police Officers went to Tuisue's house and asked if he wanted to take the person to court but the softly-spoken back-row responded "I said no, give them a chance,".
"They were a young rugby player too, maybe based in Wales, and I wanted them to continue to grow their rugby. I did not care who they were, because they did not know me, they did not know my family, or anything about me.”
"Sometimes, the right way to deal with a crime like that is for the person to learn from it, think twice, and to not repeat it again. To give them a second chance." Given Tuisue's remarkable level of compassion, you desperately hope the person behind that message never makes the same mistake again,” Tuisue explained.
London Irish's director of rugby Declan Kidney says Tuisue is Premiership's most imposing No 8s.
"He’s blossomed really, hasn’t he?". "From the way you see him play, he is a different person, very quiet off the pitch. A top-class man. If he tells you to do something, you never have to question it, it always gets done.”
"He had a lot of physicality but he’s mixing that now with better ball sense, better understanding. There is more growth in him. I think we are just in the prime of his career."
The 28-year-old appeared twice for Fiji against the All Blacks, scoring a try and was player of the match in that 2018 NRC final, scoring two tries where he also received a phone to return to work.
“That’s why I tried to change things. Maybe I could go a bit further with a rugby career," he adds.
“He gave me the option to come back and finish my career. I said, 'I think I’m done with being a police officer'."
Tuisue opted for Irish, citing the French language barrier as a deciding factor not to drop the Toulon idea.
After three seasons, Tuisue has a second family at London Irish, a family who rallied around him after he received that deplorable racist message in May.
“The club were really supportive, and the fans too sent me messages, encouraging me. That’s why I really like being here - the people around me here, they have really helped me a lot."
It’s been two years now for Tuisue not to see his family back in Fiji but he has been financially supporting his family for better their lives.
"There have been phone calls and I really miss them a lot. They are really proud of what I have achieved," Tuisue added.
By Romeka Romena