Fijian Rugby Union hits out at Ben Ryan

9:50 AM GMT

The Fijian Rugby Union has hit out at Ben Ryan — the man who led them to Olympic gold — saying it is disappointed by his “constant remarks” about the sevens team.

The statement comes in response to a tweet from Ryan where he criticises the FRU for having not contracted any of the players who have played in the opening two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

A fantastic effort by Fiji at @CapeTown7s @WorldRugby7s series. FRU – please start paying these amazing men. No one contracted again.

— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) December 11, 2016

The FRU has responded with a lengthy statement where it says Ryan “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” and expresses its disappointment at Ryan’s “constant remarks… and his ongoing tweets about the performance of the team”.

During his time with Fiji, Ryan led their sevens teams to back-to-back World Series triumphs and gold at Rio, their country’s first Olympic medal. Ryan left his post in charge of Fiji after Rio 2016 and will be replaced by Gareth Baber.

“The FRU has also appointed a new coach and he will lead the Fiji men’s sevens team moving forward and we all need to give Baber a chance including Ben Ryan,” the FRU statement continued. “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.

Also let’s get one thing straight. Naca and boys were great last two weeks. Not one player or coach should get anything other than praise.

— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) December 12, 2016

“All the players that were selected for the first leg of the IRB [World Rugby] 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 FRU CEO highlighted that coach Baber will commence duty on the January 2 2016 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.”

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