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Matai Akauola Rio de Janeiro

Matai Akauola  Rio de Janeiro
Team Fiji sevens rugby manager Ropate Kauvesi (left), Semi Kunatani (third form left) and Leone Nakarawa (right) and 2016 Olympics officials in Rio yesterday. Photo: Matai Akauola
August 23
15:25 2016


Gold medal winning 7s team manager Roapte Kauvesi says the team wants coach Ben Ryan to stay following their gold medal win at the 31st Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“His choice, only God knows,” Kauvesi said.

“If he goes, we’ll release him and bless him.

“If he stays our nation will be blessed because there’s still more for him to offer.

“The boys and I want him to stay.”

Coach Ryan wants time off for a couple of months before he decides on his future.

The team manager/coach partnership began three years ago.

Kauvesi was appointed a week before Ben and the Road to Rio began then.

“Ben had mapped out a plan at our first camp three years ago until the last game at the Olympics. That’s how far Ben had planned everything.

“In the first year we won the series and then the second year and he instilled in us the belief that we can win it.

“For the series our fitness was 80 per cent, for the Olympics he (Ben) took it to 100 percent and we peaked at the right time,” said Kauvesi.

He said everything they did during the series was gearing up for the Olympics such as confiscating of mobile phones and getting the boys to be focussed.

“There’s a lot of distractions in events such as the Olympics.”

Apart from the physical and the mental, Kauvesi believes the spiritual aspect of the boys upbringing really showed up in their team bonding.

“Ben’s first six months was spent on listening, observing and asking questions, trying to understand the Fijian nature and what makes them tick.

“He (Ben) even started to be with them and singing from a Fijian hymn book.

“Ben normally explains to the overseas people the Fijian players are different, they know when you have a problem.

“He will tell them they’ve got this sixth sense probably spiritual,” said Kauvesi of coach Ryan.

The manager is looking forward to getting back home and needs quality time with his family.

“I’ve missed children’s birthday and the things I need to do at home.

“So getting home, firstly, I want to see my family.

“Yes, I need a good break with my family and I’m just looking forward to ‘rourou vakarakara’ (boiled taro leaf) with tin tuna,” said the former bank officer.

Edited by Osea Bola



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