Ben Ryan (rugby union)

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Ben Ryan, CF
Ben Ryan.jpg
Ben Ryan - Keynote Speaker
Date of birth (1971-09-11) 11 September 1971 (age 47)
Place of birthWimbledon, London
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight85 kg (187 lb; 13 st 5 lb)
Occupation(s)Rugby coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) Scrum-half
Teams coached
Years Team
2007-2013
2013-2016
England Sevens
Fiji Sevens

Ben Ryan CF (born 11 September 1971), also known as Ratu Peni Rayani Latianara, is a rugby union coach who is best known for having coached the Fiji sevens to two Sevens World Series titles and a gold medal in sevens rugby at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Since 2013, he has guided Fiji's sevens team to historic achievements, presiding over Fiji's first ever Dubai 7's title, setting the highest ever record of tournament titles won by a Fiji Sevens coach with 9, to winning the inaugural rugby sevens competition at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The gold medal for Fiji represented the first ever Olympic medal earned by Fiji at any Olympics.[1]

He is the former coach of the England sevens team where he was named to that position at the end of 2006 after Mike Friday resigned to follow a career outside of rugby[1] and given the combined Sevens and Academy Job full-time in July 2007.

Youth and education[edit]

Ryan graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc in Sports science. He is a former member of Thames Valley Harriers Athletic Club, where he was a very successful sprinter at school boy level. He is a former Master at St Edward's School, Oxford where he was master in charge of Rugby and Athletics. During his time at St Edward's he successfully introduced A-Level Sports science, was head of the physical education department.

Ryan was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing; Wimbledon College; Loughborough University (BSc in Sports Science) and Cambridge University (MPhil in Education), where he won two Blues as a scrum-half in the winning sides of 1995 and 1996 as well as captaining the Light Blues’ Sevens team. He played club rugby with Nottingham and West Hartlepool and as recently as Jan 2007 turned out for Newbury in their 45-13 defeat at Leeds Tykes.[citation needed]

Coaching career[edit]

He taught at St Edward's School, Oxford which, by the time he left after six years, had a player in every England international squad from Under-16 to Senior. Previously the school had no representation on international teams. The school had an 82% success rate at Sevens including four national Sevens semi-finals and two quarter-finals. He joined Newbury Blues in 2002 as backs coach and led them from National Division Two to One (Championship) in 2004/05 (his first season as full-time Director of Rugby). He was assistant coach to England Counties on their tour to Argentina and Uruguay in 2005 and head coach for the 35-7 victory over Tunisia June 2007 and Ireland Clubs and France Amateurs in March 2007.

England sevens[edit]

Ryan's first IRB tournament was Wellington 2007, and up to the Dubai Sevens 2012 he was in charge for 56 HSBC IRB World Series Sevens Tournaments, over 300 games - the longest serving England Sevens Head Coach of all time, reaching the semi finals or better 28 times. Outside the HSBC World Sevens Series he was also head coach for the 2009 RWC and 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and in his last tournament in charge of England led them to their first Rugby World Cup 7's Final in 20 years, eventually losing to New Zealand in the final.[2]

In the FIRA European Series, he has coached 7 tournaments and overall has coached England in 67 International Tournaments corresponding to 378 Games.[3] In 2011, Ben was also in charge of the England side that won the Junior Commonwealth Games in the Isle of Man, beating South Africa in the final 41-20.[4]

England are currently European Champions and ranked third in the World. Ben's assistant coach is Russell Earnshaw, former Bath player whom he played with at Cambridge University. He successfully led GB Students to their first World University Games title (2012 Brive). In 2013, he resigned as the coach of the England 7's team and was subsequently replaced by Simon Amor.[citation needed]

Fiji sevens[edit]

In September 2013, Ryan was signed on as the coach for the Fiji sevens team.[5] He led them to a tournament victory, winning the Dubai 7s for the first time in the nation's history in only his second tournament in charge. His appointment also coincided with financial problems with the Fijian Rugby Union, resulting in Ryan's volunteering to go unpaid for the first four months of his contract - a first as an international top tier head coach.[6][7]

As coach of Fiji, Ryan has won 9 tournaments, 2 in the 2013–14 season and 4 in the 2014–15 overtaking the record set by a former coach, Waisale Serevi who won 4 Cup titles with Fiji. In May 2015, Fiji were crowned the overall winners of the 2014–15 Sevens World Series after defeating South Africa in the cup quarter final of the 2015 London Sevens giving Ryan his first ever Sevens World Series title.

Ryan won 3 more titles with Fiji in the 2015-16 season taking his tally to 9 titles with Fiji, the highest ever by any coach for Fiji. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Ryan coached Fiji to a gold medal in the inaugural rugby sevens competition, where Fiji's Sevens team not only became Fiji's first ever Olympic Champions, they earned Fiji's first ever medal in the history of the Olympics.

Ryan confirmed that he would be stepping down as coach in 2016, but had not made any plans for the future. In August 2016, he was given the Fijian name of Ratu Peni Rayani Latianara along with 3 acres of land in Serua, a province he claims as his hometown.[8]

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Fiji (General Division).png Companion of the Order of Fiji (CF) [9] 22 August 2016

After winning gold and returning to Fiji, Ryan was accorded the highest order when he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Fiji.[9] He is depicted on the reverse of a circulating 50 cent coin, and on the front of a circulating commemorative $7 banknote. [10]

Personal Life[edit]

Ryan married Natalie Peck on 4 July 2009. They separated in September 2016 and were officially divorced on 2 August 2017. They had no children.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mapletoft takes on development role, telegraph.co.uk; accessed 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ England reach RWC 7s final Archived 5 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine., rwcsevens.com; accessed 21 October 2016.
  3. ^ Ryan Leave England Archived 5 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine., rfu.com; accessed 21 October 2016.
  4. ^ News Report Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine., rfu.com; September 2011.
  5. ^ "Ben Ryan is new 7s head coach". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  6. ^ Ryan Unpaid Archived 1 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Ben Ryan; one of a few involved with rugby union for love of the game, thenational.ae; accessed 21 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara". Fiji Times Online. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Ben Ryan awarded Companion of the Order of Fiji". nzherald.co.nz. New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  10. ^ http://www.rbf.gov.fj/getattachment/e2e90ac1-bbab-4c4c-840c-e112bef0a1c7/Press-Release-No-8-$7-Banknotes-and-50-Cents-Coins.pdf?lang=en-US

External links[edit]