In light of rugby sevens’ inaugural appearance at sports premier showpiece, the Olympic Games, it is fair to say that Englishman Ben Ryan is somewhat of a living legend on the island having steered the nation to its first ever Olympic medal.
Ryan was instrumental to Fiji’s success having installed a ethic and ethos of professionalism into the side, who, despite their imposing physical qualities, tended to come up short in the gas tank thus leaving them exposed in the business end of tournaments.
The conditioning and structure which Ryan implemented, compounded Fiji’s already unprecedented superior aesthetic attributes and subsequently served as the perfect tonic to the faults in the side, leading to Fiji winning two successive World Series titles and the aformentioned Olympic gold.
I was lost for words yesterday when I was awarded The companion of the order of Fiji. Vinaka Fiji ?? pic.twitter.com/AGWZoQB3eW
— Ben Ryan Fiji 7s (@benjaminryan) August 22, 2016
Ryan’s status as a hero within the island nation has all but been confirmed following a ceremony held in the capital of Suva where Fiji president Jioji Konrote made the head coach a Companion of the Order of Fiji, the highest honorary title that can be awarded under the Order.
In line with this prestigious award, Ryan has also been granted three acres of land and the chiefly name Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara.
— Fiji 7s Team (@Fiji7sTeam) August 29, 2016
Having joined the national Fijian sevens side after serving as England sevens head coach from 2007-2013, Ryan announced that he is to step down from his role following the conclusion of the Games.
Given his standing in the game, a warranted degree of interest has been forthcoming from a number of avenues with Ryan himself stating that he has been approached by no fewer than twenty parties as of yet: (via fbc.com)
“They offered me a very nice contract I said the same as I have said to everybody else I’m not making any decisions right now and with Japan comes possible Super Rugby with the Sunwolves as well the 7s and 15’s but look its sometimes your embarrassed to say things but post Olympics I had over 20 offers from around.”