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Ben Pleads

Ben Ryan pleads for fans and critics to support the Vodafone Fiji 7s team in its bid to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The Vodafone Fiji 7s coach
14 Feb 2015 14:08
Ben Pleads
Team Vodafone Fiji during the 7s parade in Las Vegas yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir

Ben Ryan pleads for fans and critics to support the Vodafone Fiji 7s team in its bid to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The Vodafone Fiji 7s coach made his request as the team rounded up preparations for the USA 7s which starts in Las Vegas today.

Ryan supported the sentiments shared by Fiji’s Ambassador to the United States, Winston Thompson that all Fijians should be proud of their team’s performance considering the limited resources at Fiji Rugby Union.

“It serves no purpose to find critique in a team that’s fighting hard and playing well,”Ryan said

“Gone are the days that Fiji can just turn up and expect to win.

“The truth is that other nations have bigger playing base, more money, more development and better programmes.

“It’s naive to think otherwise. We don’t get any special allowance in tournaments because of our history.

“In the last 15 years, teams have caught up. In the seven years I coached England, we had a winning record against Fiji. Would that have happened 10 years ago?”

Ryan strongly believes the players do not deserve to be blamed all the time.

“The players don’t deserve any criticism in anything they do,”he said.

“They want to make their country proud and they can be as good as they can be.

“I’ve read some of the thoughts of some people about the team.

“The team and management are working as hard as they can, it’s very easy to comment after the event and criticise.” Fiji is grouped in Pool A with Samoa, New Zealand and Wales.

“The tournament draw is tough and we will play as well as we can,”Ryan said.

“The Fijian rugby fans should understand international rugby will also realise that and support a great team that value the support of the nation hugely.

“Can the critics remember we’ve lost the same amount of games as the leaders of the series South Africa and New Zealand?

“We’ve the top pointscorer in the 2013/2014 series in Samisoni Viriviri and we are on the top four in the 2014/2015 HSBC Sevens World Series.

“Our number one priority this season to get automatic qualification for the Rio Olympics.

“This is after losing so many players last season and starting again this year.”

Ryan is proud of the players, medics and managers and is proud to coach the Fiji team.

“They work so hard for so little to help Fiji Rugby in clubs on the islands.

“I’m proud of the administrators and organisers of the amazing tournaments in Fiji that help us find players and produce great players. I’m also proud of the supporters and their energy and enthusiasm they bring.

“Finally I’m proud to be coaching Fiji. We all work as hard and as clever as we can and it will get us where it gets us,” Ryan said.

The side rounded up their training yesterday and took part in the 7s parade.

Ryan said their  focus is now on their first two pool matches today.

Fiji faces Samoa at 1.06pm, Wales at 4.02pm and New Zealand at 9:05am on Sunday.

Feedback:  anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

 

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