FORMER Fiji 7s coach, Ben Ryan described the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast 7s as a stand out tournament as it helped him identify potential players to represent Fiji.
“If you think back to when I first came across, initially we were preparing for that first Dubai team and I saw players like Semi Kunatani and Viliame Mata in this same tournament,” Ryan said.
“I didn’t even watch Viliame play, he walked past me and that cast a shadow and I thought I better keep an eye on him because he is a big boy.”
“The tournament was amazing as it gave me a good start in my career as a coach while here in Fiji,” Ryan said.
“I am always grateful for this tournament as it is a stand out tournament not only in Fiji but across the world.”
Ryan was surprised to learn that former Fiji national 7s team prop Pio Tuwai featured for Mc Donald’s Saunaka in the tournament.
“It will be good to see how he gets on and plays and I know that there are a few boys that are playing here who will be trying their best to catch the eye of Gareth and force their way into the training squad,” Ryan said.
Ryan added it is a funny rugby season with the Rugby World Cup and Commonwealth Games coming up and the Hong Kong 7s just before the Commonwealth Games.
“Each team that are having a go at both tournaments will have to plan very carefully whether they will have a go at both titles or they might just choose to opt for one,” Ryan said.
By Mela Katonivualiku & Photos by Jone Luvenitoga