'I cried watching Gareth Thomas' Guinness ad' - Openly gay rugby player on beating the bullies
Published 29/09/2015 | 11:26
Pearse Egan was viciously bullied as a teenager but a gay rugby club in Sydney helped him find the acceptance he needed
Speaking to The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTE Radio One, the 26-year-old from Dun Laoghaire how he was abused during his childhood and was forced away from every sports team.
"I was made feel like an outsider, I was bullied, called names, beaten up," he said.
"I think people can sense insecurity, I was always shy and quiet and didn't act or sound like the other guys in school.
"They saw the weakness and abused me for it.
"Every time I played sport I was the last one to be picked or I'd hear 'don't pass the ball to him'.
"Fag, girl, gay, puff, he doesn't belong here.
"I was asked to leave every sports team I was on.
"I'm quite big so people would ask 'why did you let them do that?' but I'm not a violent person.
"I pushed past it."
His life after a chance meeting with a guy after he had moved to Australia and he tried rugby for the first time with the Sydney Convicts, a predominantly gay team.
"I went down to a training session, and I originally left, I went and saw them and thought a bunch of guys, I need to leave," he added.
"I went back a week after... I dropped the ball, I crashed into a tree, I tripped over everything.
"I stuck at it and I got good... I got moved up to a second grade team and I played in a tournament. I love it now.
"To be picked and be wanted... they are always wondering why I'm half-emotional on the pitch. It's huge for me to be accepted. I just feel live everyone else."
Pearse shed 20kg on his way to becoming a rugby player and is a star in a documentary called 'Scrum' which followed the Convicts during the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 - the 'world cup of gay rugby'.
Pearse also said he was proud of Gareth Thomas' inclusion in Guinness' ad campaign surrounding the Rugby World Cup. The former Welsh captain came out as gay in 2009.
"I cried watching that Guinness ad too. I thought it was fantastic that they could do that," he added.