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Im Better Now

The Vodafone Fiji 7s coach reveals the Fijians lost in Hong Kong and South Africa because there was so mush distraction and overconfidence. Ryan made the analysis on the highs
23 Nov 2014 11:03
Im Better Now
The Suva Rugby Union sponsors and awards recipients during their awards night at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay Convention Centre last night. Photo: Jona Konataci

The Vodafone Fiji 7s coach reveals the Fijians lost in Hong Kong and South Africa because there was so mush distraction and overconfidence.

Ryan made the analysis on the highs and lows of the Fijians on the 2013/2014 IRB Sevens World Series.

He made the revelation while speaking as chief guest at the 2014 Fiji Sports Hall of Fame at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay Convention Centre last Friday.

“I’ve coached a few Fijians in the past and have a lot of respect for them, not just their backgrounds.

“I have been here for twelve months and I’ve learned lessons constantly as a coach,” Ryan said.

“I think I’m a better coach now than I ever have been and the Fiji Rugby Union and the boys have helped me see clarity in things I’ve never seen before.”

2013 Gold Coast 7s

“My first experience in Fiji was when I went to the Gold Coast 7s last year with the team which was selected for me.

“In the first two days we had a fitness test and the fittest player in the squad was me.

“I was a little bit shell-shocked I had no idea how we were going to progress.

“In the Cup quarterfinal we played against England and I knew the speed of my fellow countrymen will be too much for the players.”

Fiji lost to England 12 – 26 and  Ryan learned the two components were fitness and player selection.

He also learned to educate the players about nutrition in Dubai.

“We had four weeks before the Dubai 7s and I put them in the arena and the strongest will survive.

“It came as my first lesson about Fijian rugby that we have to play to our strengths and keep things simple.

“I stressed fitness and nutrition in Dubai and told the boys they should have plates with the greens, reds and not just dull white colour with a lot of carbohydrates.

“When we were in Dubai I was with Mosese Mawalu who was just making his debut. During breakfast at the five-star hotel, I found eight fried eggs and bread in his plate. I asked him; Mosese what are you doing? And from there we started to educate the boys about nutrition.”

Ryan said the players were relaxed when they played in Dubai and remained focus ed on the task.

“We were doing new skills we hadn’t done before and within two minutes they got it. In English football, boys will take a little longer but that was the first point.  In the semifinal against New Zealand in the changing room they were messing around dancing a little bit, looking so relaxed and made me relax.

“Fiji walloped New Zealand 44-0 in the semifinal and went on to win the Dubai 7s title beating South Africa 29-17.

South Africa 7s

‘Overconfidence got to the players as they went on to Port Elizabeth South Africa 7s which cost us in the 28-12 defeat against Samoa in the Cup quarterfinal and won the Plate beating France 45-19.

“We lost to Samoa because the boys looked overconfident,” Ryan said.

Tokyo, Hong Kong 7s

The boys regrouped well for the third leg in Tokyo and Ryan said they were firm and focused in Tokyo but were distracted in Hong Kong. Fiji won the Tokyo 7s beating South Africa 33-26 and finished in fourth place in Hong Kong following a 19-26 defeat against Australia.

“In Tokyo there were a few Fijian supporters and the boys bonded really well and won the tournament easily.

“In Hong Kong by the time we reached the Cup quarterfinal the boys looked dead and I thought we were going to struggle. The boys just look tired with the amount of distraction we had in Hong Kong and it was a huge lesson for me.

“After the 2013/2014 season we knew what we were going to work on for the new season and we started well in Gold Coast last month.

“Our plan is to win the series and I know the players and I am a better coach now.”

2016 Rio Olympics plan

As the national 7s team builds up to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics Ryan would see minimum distraction on the boys.

“We are going to approach the qualifiers; it’s going to be bigger and it gives me another lesson and that is keeping all those distractions away from the boys; it changes their focus,” he said.

“It’s about getting  the recipe right for rugby coaches; it’s all about making sure to get the right combinations and start to work out,” Ryan said. Getting players contracted is Ryan’s first plan to get the players committed.

“We have to box clever whatever dollar we get we need to be smart so contract the boys get some consistency in selection. Picking players that are available on form and be honest with the players  and do much as  you possibly can to make them better,” he said.

For the team to win gold in 2016 Ryan said we don’t assume things we shouldn’t assume; believe in better that is getting to know and understanding the players background and control the controllable.

“I rather have a team that has so much at stake.”

Feedback:  anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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