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Englishman Ben Ryan non-committal on Fiji future after rugby sevens triumph

Published 12/08/2016

Former England Sevens coach Ben Ryan masterminded Fiji's gold medal success in Rio
Former England Sevens coach Ben Ryan masterminded Fiji's gold medal success in Rio

The Englishman responsible for masterminding Fiji's greatest sporting moment will "press the pause button" as he ponders his next move.

Former England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan guided the South Sea Islanders to gold - Fiji's first Olympic medal in any sport - at Deodoro Stadium after a 43-7 victory over Great Britain in the final.

He is now set to move back to London and he could prove a man in demand.

"I have always said that I was going to press the pause button after my time with Fiji, reflect on things, and that is what I will do," he said.

"I will have a few months off, probably weigh up what move is next and enjoy some time out for a few other different projects.

"The last few years have been amazing, and I will always be thankful for Fiji giving me this opportunity to find my fire back again, I guess.

"I will be lucky if I ever get the opportunity to coach such great guys in the future.

"It was our day - we are thankful for it - but it is the team, really. The coach just sort of points and blows his whistle."

The homecoming for Fiji's sporting heroes is likely to be a spectacular event, and Ryan offered a fascinating insight into what awaits them.

"I try to explain it to people that don't go to Fiji, or have never been, and it's impossible really," he added.

"The boys are front page, back page, six o'clock news.

"You come out of the airport and there is a 20-foot billboard of them, and that continues all the way through.

"They are superstars in Fiji, and I can have an hour's drive to work and I will see 50 villages all playing one-touch rugby.

"It's a passion, it's the national sport. The island won't be having parties in sporadic parts of the country, it will be across the entire nation and 335 islands, and it will continue for some time.

"The bus ride from the airport is a three-hour journey. When we won the World Sevens for the first time, it took nine hours.

"That is generally because small children and babies were put in front of the bus, so we had to stop, get out and take photos. I have got a feeling it might be slightly different again when we get back."

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