Watching Brentford will help Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan ponder his next move
Last Updated: 12/08/16 11:41pm
Ben Ryan will take some time out to watch Brentford play football, among other things, before considering his future after coaching Fiji to Olympic sevens gold.
Former England Sevens coach Ryan led Fiji to gold in the men's rugby sevens with a 43-7 victory over Great Britain in the final and make history in the Pacific Island nation.
Fiji left their best for last when they totally outclassed Great Britain in a formidable and entertaining display that will surely secure Sevens' future in the Olympics.
However while Sevens future looks rosy, Ryan is looking to move on to a new role despite the success his adopted nation had in Rio.
"I told Fiji that I was leaving after the Olympics - that was always my plan," Ryan told Sky Sports News HQ.
"I just want to have some time to reflect, have some beers with my mates, play a few rounds of golf and go and watch Brentford play. Then I will decide what is next.
"Whatever happens it will be pretty hard to match these last three years. I wake up near the beach with coconut trees in my vista and coach the most remarkable players in a a rugby mad nation. This is a moment in my career that I will never forget.
"I want to be a head coach in both codes - in fifteens there is a bit of a black mark against your name with Sevens - I have no idea why. I am the most successful British coach ever in any team sport at the moment and I would love to have a crack at fifteens, but this train that Sevens is on is getting faster, we have now had an Olympic cycle."
Ryan played a key part in helping Fiji win their first ever Olympic medal and revealed it was a magical journey that perhaps didn't have the start he expected when he took over in 2013.
"Day one was no money - I was not paid for five months. The union in Fiji had gone bankrupt and World Rugby had stopped any money because they were worried where it was going. We had nothing really, I was paying for the petrol for the bus to take the boys to training.
"Fast forward three years and we have got a full-time program, we are back to back world champions and we have won Olympic gold all in the space of 24 months. It has been remarkable.
"It has been based on simple leadership and a real simple framework. We are pretty lucky that we have some unbelievable rugby players in our ranks."
Hungry for success
There were some tough decisions to make, though, and the players soon realised that their natural talent was not going to be enough for Ryan.
"We took carbs out of their diet for the last two months and brought it back in the last three days before the completion to give them a boost ," explained Ryan.
"They were flying, after the final one of the lads asked if they could play another tournament, they had that much energy.
"We got everything right in the last two months - from the altitude training in Chile to the banning of phones; from their diet to curfews. We were so tight as a team and hopefully that is what got us over the line."
Uniting a nation
Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has already stated that there will be a public holiday to celebrate the country's gold medal in Rio, and Ryan is expecting one heck of a welcoming party when the team returns home.
"When we won our first world title two years ago our journey from the airport to the capital took nine hours because the villages were putting babies in front of the bus to stop it so we had to get out and say hello to all the villagers," he added.
"With the Olympics they have already gone into party mode across the nation - I shudder to think what is going to happen. It will be great and remind us all that we are the nations team - we have hotel porters in our team and a prison warden scored the last try for us in that final. It is remarkable.
"Rugby unites the team and the team unites the nation in a way that very few other sports can."
Ryan was also delighted by the performance of Great Britain which consisted of many players that he had mentored during his time as England coach.
"They [Team GB] have had a fantastic ride in this tournament. Their one on one tackling was absolutely phenomenal, said Ryan.
"Their starting side - five of them were English who I brought into the system, where I saw them playing at schools and universities - the Tom Mitchells of this world. I am sure they have woken up and been fairly happy with their silver.
"I was delighted when I saw them - Dan Norton I have known since he was 15. This is a huge highlight for them, a silver medal at the Olympic games. They played so well but just met their match in the final. They will look upon this as a glory day for British rugby, they have done brilliantly."