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Rio coach Ryan upsets Fijian powerbrokers

Press Association logoPress Association 12/12/2016 Duncan Bech

A war of words has broken out between the Fijian Rugby Union and the coach who steered the Islanders to a first Olympic gold in the nation's history.

Ben Ryan, who stepped down from his post after Rio 2016, initiated the sharp exchange of views on Sunday by criticising the FRU for failing to give contracts to the players involved in the opening two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

"A fantastic effort by Fiji at @CapeTown7s @WorldRugby7sseries. FRU - please start paying these amazing men. No one contracted again," tweeted the 45-year-old from London.

The FRU responded with a statement issued on Monday morning which said 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."

In addition, the FRU voiced its frustration at Ryan's "constant remarks... and his ongoing tweets about the performance of the team".

Ryan, who is regarded a national hero in Fiji and was given a three-acre plot of land on the island to reward his success, hit back at the union he served for three years.

"What a ridiculously childish statement. I've only said positive things about everyone and one tweet that tells the truth hits a chord," he tweeted.

"Ps @fijirugby If you want me to step back perhaps you should extend the gesture and remove my photo from your top banner on your website!"

Ryan's time at the helm of Fiji's sevens team delivered back-to-back World Series wins and the Olympic gold medal, secured after Team GB were overwhelmed 43-7 in the final.

He has since been performing ambassadorial and advisory roles and had been linked with a coaching post on next summer's British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, although that has since been discounted by Warren Gatland.

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