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Many lessons to learn

Fred Wesley
Friday, August 26, 2016

IT is encouraging to know that there may be a chance that we could see outgoing national sevens rugby coach Ben Ryan return to Fiji in the future.

In the wake of our two years in a row hold of the World Rugby Sevens Series, there is a wave of emotions directed at our champion coach.

It is to be expected.

Ryan is special. He is different because he has made himself one of us.

For thousands of fans around the globe keenly following the sevens series, Ryan's transition from having coached England, to speaking and understanding iTaukei words and phrases has been nothing short of inspiring.

There have been stories of him asking for explanations about Fijian phrases, from the common "set!" to "moce Jo!".

They have lifted his profile and popularity among Fijian fans who truly can relate to this ginger haired man with spectacles.

Ryan has made inroads into the psyche of Fijian rugby fans across the world.

He is recognisable, extremely popular and adored by Fijian fans.

Yesterday, Ryan revealed he could return to Fiji, but not anytime soon.

Clearly there is some sadness hanging over his expected departure.

While we would love to retain a man who has transformed our game by incorporating a structure around defence and attack, rigid adherence to a strict diet on top of a training program tailor-made for our players, long-term goal setting, lifting discipline while at the same time keeping our flair and running rugby, we have to accept that sometimes we have to let go of good things. The challenge for the governing Fiji Rugby Union is to identify the team that will take over from Ryan.

That should have been done in the first year of Ryan's arrival.

Standards are pretty high right now.

Whoever we do get in certainly has big shoes to fill.

Ryan and the team have set very high standards over the past three years culminating in the gold medal win at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

It is encouraging to know that Ryan may return to Fiji in the future.

There are many lessons for us here as we look ahead to the start of the next World Rugby Sevens Series.

And lest we forget, we have the Olympics in Japan in four years time to prepare for. Ryan has taught us that we must plan well in advance to achieve our goals. Perhaps that should be lesson number one. Our first step forward post-Ben Ryan.

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