6 Dec 2013

Sport: Fiji sevens coach calls for consistency after Dubai win

5:49 pm on 6 December 2013

After a stunning victory in Dubai, Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan says this weekend's tournament in Port Elizabeth will be the real test of how far the team has progressed.

Fiji is the talk of the sevens circuit after thrashing New Zealand 44-0 en-route to their first Dubai title in 15 years.

Ben Ryan isn't getting carried away by one result but told Vinnie Wylie it's a great boost for the team.

BEN RYAN: We strung together some good games on day two and probably it all started on day one in the evening against England. But we had some luck. We didn't pick up any injuries. And we rode on the back of the confidence that we got from Friday night and then onwards from Saturday in particular in that New Zealand game.

VINNIE WYLIE: Did you guys just click or was it a case of not a great day for New Zealand and Fiji on top of their game? That's one hell of a score.

BR: And if we'd knocked over our conversions it would have been 56. We missed six out of our eight conversions. By no means was it a flawless display by us. Looking back at it, we had a few knock-ons, a few set pieces we didn't make the most of. I guess from New Zealand's point of view they didn't see the ball, and when they did get the ball we got the ball pretty quickly off them by being very aggressive at the breakdown and counter-rucking.

VW: What does a result like that do for the confidence of the team? You've brought your ideas and changed up the squad with a few new faces. Sometimes you need a result like this to say 'OK, we're on our way, guys'.

BR: It's a real fillip, a real positive if you get an early win. Things all going well, the boys have been very encouraged by everything they've done. All the work that I've put in front of them, they've gone and done it. And this is really only the start. Although, obviously, we're very pleased with how we played last weekend there is a lot more growth in this programme, certainly with players. Training ages are young and we haven't really got stuck in properly into their strength and conditioning and some of their technical errors. So we're going to get a lot better. But conditioning of fitness isn't where I want it to be. Back to back tournaments, that's where it starts to come through. That's why teams like New Zealand have done so well in the past because their fitness has taken them through to that second tournament. They've been good this week in training, they've got their bounce back, so I'm hoping we perform well. They know there's competition for places back home and they're going to have to continue to play well to make sure they stay in the squad.

VW: This has put your team in the spotlight, so how do you think they're going to handle the added pressure and interest this coming week in Port Elizabeth?

BR: It's something I'm looking forward to seeing how they react to, because like you say, there's been a lot of press talking them up. Certainly back home in Fiji it's been very positive and they're talking about the resurgence of Fiji. I'm trying to keep everyone's feet on the ground and saying it's one weekend, Sevens is highly competitive and they've got to press the reset button. If they show more progress then we'll put in some good performances this weekend. We've got a very tough start against Australia. I'm interested to see how we progress this weekend. I've got a fairly open mind about it all.