Fiji Rugby union responds to Ryan criticism

The Fiji Rugby Union has hit out at their former Sevens coach Ben Ryan over his recent criticism of the team and the union.

Fiji Rugby Union CEO John O'Connor issued a press statement on the union's official website on Monday in which he said: "The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) wishes to express its disappointment at Ben Ryan’s constant remarks about our Vodafone Fiji 7s Team and his ongoing tweets about the performance of the team.

"While, the FRU appreciates Ben Ryan’s contribution to Fiji Rugby and the success we have achieved through his leadership of the 7s Team, he has chosen to move on to other challenges which we respect and all have accepted but it seems it is difficult for him to move on.

"The FRU has also appointed a new coach (Gareth Baber) and he will lead the Fiji Men’s 7s Team moving forward and we all need to give Baber a chance including Ben Ryan. It is no longer Ben Ryan’s team and Ben must understand this and he must allow our new coach Baber to deal with the issues in relation to his team.

"All the players that were selected for the first leg of the IRB Series revolved around Ben Ryan's extended squad. Their employment contracts with FRU expired after the Olympics. They, however, have all been paid their relevant allowances while in camp and while on tour for the two tournaments."

"The statement further stated that: "The FRU CEO highlighted that coach Baber will commence duty on 2 January 2017 and the FRU believes it is only fair that he watches our local competition and selects his own team and the FRU intends to work with coach Baber in contracting the selected extended squad for 2017 and beyond. This was the same opportunity given to Ben when he started.

"Furthermore there is no truth in Ben’s comments that FRU has lost its sponsorship and funding. FRU has been having ongoing discussions with the Fiji National Sports Commission and our Sponsors in relation to the contracting of our 7s players both men and women."