So who will it be
26 October, 2016, 12:00 am
AS we near the end of October, interest is slowly picking up over who will replace successful 7s rugby coach Ben Ryan.
It does not help that World Rugby’s Sevens World Series is scheduled to kick off on December 1 in Dubai, just a little over a month away.
Add to that the fact that we head in as defending champions in Dubai. And if that isn’t enough, we head in as the defending series champions and as gold medallists at the Rio Olympic Games.
That will no doubt place pressure on the incoming coach to perform at the highest level.
The fact that we have key players from Ryan’s extended squad, including members of the Rio squad will lift expectations among fans.
While the governing Fiji Rugby Union remains tight-lipped about who will eventually take over this season, we are left to ponder over who is actually available around the world.
That’s if we are contemplating a choice spread out over international coaches.
Whoever does make it, and gets the hot seat vacated by Ryan, has his work cut out.
There are certainly very high standards to meet, and an expectant fan base to consider as well.
Ryan proved that with the right frame of mind, our natural talents can turn heads at the highest level of the game.
He proved that even without the money of developed nations, their resources and expertise, we can still train right here in Fiji and win international tournaments.
He proved that with the right kind of players groomed right here at home, on a local diet, and pumped with innovative training methods, we can move mountains.
Ryan head-hunted around the country, pulled up a number of players who had been discarded by former coaches, picked some relatively unknown players, whipped all of them into shape and turned them into 7s stars. We did not have the modern gyms the top teams had. We did not have the dietitians, specialised coaches for the backs and forwards, and the cash incentives.
We had natural talent, a great understanding of the game, enthusiasm and passion, coupled with pace, aggression and size. And we have the Sigatoka Sand Dunes!
Fiji sevens rugby needed someone like Ryan to bring all that together into a perfect mix.
The game of 7s has evolved greatly.
The fact that teams are getting information in real time during tournaments means no part of this mix can be left out.
We wait with anticipation on the FRU’s decision, hopefully over the coming days or weeks.
That decision isn’t going to be an easy one.
Sevens rugby unites our nation. It cuts through every imaginary demarcation line. There can be no doubt about the importance of the announcement of our new 7s coach.
Whoever it is will need the support of Fijian fans.