WEEKEND

Ryan vs Baber Things In Common

The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist. He can be contacted at ajay@carvingdream.com There are always going to be comparisons made between former Olympic Gold winning coach Ben Ryan and
23 Jul 2017 10:00
Ryan vs Baber Things In Common
Hong Kong Rugby Sevens head coach Gareth Baber during a press conference at Marco Polo Hotel in Hong Kong ahead of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015. Wednesday 25 March 2015. Copyright photo: Michael Lee/ KLC fotos

The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist. He can be contacted at ajay@carvingdream.com

There are always going to be comparisons made between former Olympic Gold winning coach Ben Ryan and his successor Gareth Baber.

The first comparison, I found was not from the rule book of rugby but more of a life skills assessment.

To begin with they are both consummate professionals in their approach to what is a very high pressure and demanding profession.

The second observation I found was both had a very disciplined approach to their work, which in turn will eventually impact on their players as anyone knows you should always lead by example and both individuals have been willing to do this.

The third and most important ingredient for me personally is that both are gentleman and always have time for the public with no petty demands or ego, just good down to earth men who value their supporters and fans.

I have interviewed Ryan at length and found beyond the easy going exterior is a very focused and competitive individual who has a great will to win.

I have not had the pleasure yet of really sitting down and getting into the finer details with Baber about his vision and journey for the national team, but am sure we will once the rugby season begins.

In our recent conversation it is clear that he is certainly committed and has a plan going forward for our treasured national team, which I am sure will be unveiled as the World Sevens Series begins in the new season.

As an avid fan I have my opinions as does everybody in the nation as to what team should have been picked for each of the games and who should be in the squad and who should not.

Overall, I must say I have been pleased with the players chosen and I am sure with this season behind him Baber must be thinking about having a nucleus of about four to five players and building the team around them as players come in and out of the side.

Last season was a rebuilding phase for Baber as he begins to carve out his own identity and coaching style that will complement the talented Fijians that make up the national side.

I believe this season will be a very interesting and important time as we will see the emergence of new talent that will jostle for a chance to play in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Since the introduction of the sevens rugby competition in to the Olympic Games roster this will no doubt be the pinnacle of any players dreams, not taking anything away from the coveted Commonwealth Games and the yearly sevens series circuit but the Olympic Games just has that feeling of the ultimate prize for the athletes.

This season will surely be about building team chemistry and settling in new talent which can blend in with the senior players and hopefully show some amazing skill set and running rugby during the season.

I do believe with Fiji’s depth of talent and natural playing skills we could be coming into a new phase of success on the field as long as we can address the flashes of indiscipline that has been creeping into the game lately and needs to be addressed, especially as it is a weapon that other teams can use to frustrate and ultimately win points against us.

I am confident Baber is very much aware of this and with his cool and calm approach to the game will iron out these matters as the team evolves into what we would hope will once again the powerhouse team of Sevens rugby.

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