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Flying Fiji grounded by Ryan

02nd December 2013 06:55

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Ambition: Ben Ryan

Fiji coach Ben Ryan believes his team's dominant showing at the Dubai Sevens is just the start of a new era.

Ryan took over as head coach following his departure from the England side at the end of last season.

Charged with improving the infrastructure around the side, Fiji were in outstanding form in Dubai - crushing New Zealand 44-0 in the semi-final before going on to lift the title after taking down South Africa.

Now second in the rankings four points behind New Zealand after two rounds, Ryan's attention is now turned towards Port Elizabeth for next weekend's event despite the understandable excitement back home.

"We've still got a lot of work to do - on and off the field," Ryan told the Khaleej Times.

"In this new chapter with Fiji rugby, I hope this is a starting point. It's very important for me just to keep everyone's feet on the ground back in Fiji because they'll be going mental in Suva.

"This is a start and we're going to have some downs as well as ups because our programme is just about starting.

"We're not as fit and robust as we should be and I haven't got stuck into their nutrition enough or their strength and conditioning yet.

"But, when you've got a group of Fijian boys that are committed, unified and they play for each other, you get some fairly spectacular results. You cannot replace the confidence you get from scoring 44 points against the world champions in the semi-final. That's going to give us a lot of confidence."

Ryan added that his squad have been receptive to his instructions since taking charge, praising their execution as "outstanding."

"These 12 players have just been outstanding in everything they've done," added Ryan.

"They're learning really quickly on every level. They're just eating it up. It has been brilliant. They've worked so hard and that semi-final was flawless Sevens against the best side in the world. We gave them their heaviest defeat ever and I was speechless.

"The boys have just been phenomenal. I've worked with some tremendous athletes and this group is right up there."