'Ginger with glasses' wins Fiji's top honour

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 07:47
Large ben ryan shades 800

NEWS: The England-born coach of Fiji's gold medal-winning Sevens team, Ben Ryan, has been awarded one of the Pacific nation's highest civil honours at a ceremony in the capital Suva on Monday.

Tens of thousands of Fijians cheered and many openly wept as they braved heavy rain to attend a victory ceremony in the capital Suva with celebrations rolling through a second day since the team returned home. 

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama declared Monday a public holiday and free buses were provided to take people to the national stadium where Ryan and the players were feted as heroes.

Ryan, a self-described "44-year-old ginger bloke with glasses" has become the most revered person in Fiji since he guided the Sevens team to a 43-7 hiding of Great Britain in the Olympic Final to deliver Fiji its first Olympic medal. 

"In recognition of the achievement, it is an honour for me that I have this opportunity to present the country's highest recognition medal award to Ben Ryan," Fiji President Jioji Konrote said as the coach was made a Companion of the Order of Fiji.

The Sevens players were each made officers of the Order of Fiji with the squad members and coach Ryan also receiving FJD$30 000 (US$14 700) each. 

The crowd roared their approval when Ryan finished a bowl of kava, the traditional drink taken at ceremonial occasions in Fiji and he drew, even more, applause, when he thanked the crowd in the native iTaukei language.

Ryan, whose value as a Sevens coach skyrocketed after his Olympic success, has said he will take a short break from the game before deciding his future.

AFP

Scarlets vs Bath
sast: 20h45 | local: 19h45

  • 10 | 9
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 October 2017
Australia v New Zealand 09h00 Brisbane
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 12h00 Scotstoun
Sharks v Blue Bulls 12h30 Durban
Treviso v Toulon 14h15 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Western Province v Golden Lions 15h00 Cape Town
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Leicester Tigers v Castres 16h30 Welford Road
Munster v Racing Metro 16h30 Thomond Park
Saracens v Ospreys 18h45 Allianz Park
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Spain Sevens 0 0 0 0 20
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Chile 0 0 0 1 10
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
Team P W D L Pts
Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Hong Kong