2018 RWC 7s: Ryan joins Fijian fans

Fomer Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan with fans at the AT&T Park in San Francisco during the RWC 7s yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIJI Rugby’s successful 7s coach Ben Ryan joined thousands of Fijian fans from around the globe watching in admiration as the Jerry Tuwai-captained Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team fought their way to secure a spot in the Rugby World Cup Sevens semi-final this morning.

He said it’s good to see the smiling Fijian fans which showed their confidence in the team.

Ryan, who led the Fiji 7s team to two HSBC World Rugby Series win and the Rio Olympics gold medal win in Rio, said he always wanted the national team to do well.

Ryan said while most fans were excited during the opening minutes of the Fiji vs Japan game, he was nervous about the team’s performance.

“A man asked me — why are you so serious and not smiling,” Ryan said.

“I said ‘I am watching this — I always get nervous as I want them to do well’.”

He said it had been two years since he left Fiji rugby but the Fijian fans continued to ask for his autographs and photoshoots.

Ryan said he was honoured to know he still had the respect of the Fijian fans especially for what he had achieved for Fiji 7s.

At the AT&T Stadium yesterday, Ryan was busy signing autographs and having his photo taken with diehard Fijian fans.

“It had been two years since I left the team and it is an honour and I am always happy and surprised when people want my photo.”

Meanwhile, four top teams for this year’s rugby 7s season secured their places in the cup semi-final clashes this morning.

HSBC World Series 7s champion South Africa will face former Melrose Cup winner England in the first semi-final at 7.40 am (Fiji time) while two times winners Fiji and New Zealand will battle in a much anticipated second semi-final at 8.02am with the final scheduled at 12.53pm. Of the four semi-finalists —South Africa is the only team that hasn’t won the world cup 7s.

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