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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of how one man changed a nation, how that nation changed the man and how together they made sporting history.

It is late summer 2013. Ben Ryan, a red-haired, 40-something, spectacle-wearing Englishman, is given 20 minutes to decide whether he wants to coach Fiji's rugby sevens team, with the aim of taking them to the nation's first-ever Olympic medal. He has never been to Fiji. There has been no discussion of contracts or salary. But he knows that no one plays rugby like the men from these isolated Pacific islands, just as no one plays football like the kids from the Brazilian favelas, or no one runs as fast as the boys and girls from Jamaica's boondocks. He knows, too, that no other rugby nation has so little - no money and no resources, only basic equipment and a long, sad history of losing its most gifted players to richer, greedier nations.

Ryan says yes. And with that simple word he sets in motion an extraordinary journey that will encompass witch doctors and rugby-obsessed prime ministers, sun-smeared dawns and devastating cyclones, intense friendships and bitter rows, phone taps and wild nationwide parties. It will end in Rio with a performance that not only wins Olympic gold but touches fresh heights for rugby union and sees Ben made a tribal chief, hundreds of Fijian babies given his name and his 12 players heroes forever back home.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Ben Ryan (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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Inspirational. Thank you Ben

Makes such a difference when the author is the narrator. Story well told. As a big 7’s supporter this was a real treat. Coaches and leaders can take a lot from this book.

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Great read

Good inside look into fiji 7s rugby and behind the scenes scoop of the team and preparations

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Rugby excellence in the South Pacific

For anybody who is a rugby fan, this book by the British former coach of Fiji's Rugby Sevens team is an interesting study of Rugby in the South Pacific and getting out of his comfort zone working with Fijians to obtain their goal of Olympic Gold in the Rio 2016 Olympics. The author shares a lot of his turmoil and tribulations in coaching rugby in a very unique environment for somebody from the industrialized world. The way the Fijians play rugby is just a sight to behold, if you ever have a chance to watch the Fijians play the sevens version of rugby, it is a real treat-I have seen them at the Vegas and Vancouver Sevens. Anybody who is into sport, the Pacific Islands and fish-out-of-waters stories should love this book.

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Tulou... This book nothing short of Absolutely Brilliant! Just Read It!

Not only does Ben Ryan describe how he became who he was as a coach and as person, he also explores the stories and struggles his players faced. All the while keeping it real and humble... Fiji as I’m sure you know or shortly will, plays rugby like no one else! They are beautiful to watch and have more skill, suave, and joy in the game than any other team you will see step onto the pitch. Even more than the rugby discussed, the life lessons flow throughout this book alongside the nature and beauty of the Fijian people. I have read a few books about the South Pacific and I find it interesting that in the start the author is often not too sure what to make of it all... in the end always having grown a deep love for the place and it’s people and even their way of life. Not trying to change it, but realizing this is their life and I am blessed to be part of it. When the author reaches this point you as the reader do too (not to the same depth had it been you in their shoes, but a glimpse...). Aside from the brilliance of this true and honest story the thing I enjoyed most was that yet another person has realized Fiji (and island nations in general) are so much more than a vacation destination. They are home to a people who live life to the fullest without the money and things we all think are so pertinent. I really enjoyed this book and its message will be one of my favorites for the rest of my life. I am forever a fan of Fiji 7’s beautiful play! Though Ben suggests there is no legacy in Fiji I would say there is and it had a Golden beginning and is far from over! Enjoy the read! It’s well worth every penny!

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veilomani

captivating, gripping, joyful, tear jerking!!! Ben Ryan a Brilliant Magician who had the patience of Job!!!

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A read that will have you in tears from beginning to the end!

I LOVE THIS BOOK! I seriously was in tears from the start to the end and to make it more emotional was the soothing voice of the man himself Ben Ryan! I suggest that all Fijians and non-Fijian rugby fans to read/listen to this book! This book was beautifully written that I was able to picture everything in my mind as if I was there experiencing everything with Ratu Peni! TOSO VITI TOSO!

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Remarkable and Insightful Story

Great resource for coaches. Liked how Ben understood, committed, communicated and united his team and navigated his environment.

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My family loved it!

We loved it! I hooked up the audio book on our home stereo and we all did our home chores listening the whole day. I had to leave home with my phone and said we'd continue when I returned. As soon as I got back a few hours later my mom asked me to "put on Ben Ryan's story we wanna know what happened". And so I did. We listened on late into the evening, cooking, folding clothes, dinner etc. Ben Ryan captured the behind the scenes and the journey of an Olympic Dream so vividly, I am so glad I purchased the audio version of the book. My mom and dad enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you Ben Ryan!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-19

A genuine sporting triumph

As a proud Englishman and rugby fan, any book that can make me want Fiji to run out victorious in the Olympic final (against team GB) and tearful at the description of celebrations post Rio is an absolute winning. Ben is able to paint wonderful pictures with words, make heroes of each an every one of the players describing their struggle just find bus fair to make it to training. Brilliant read, highly recommended.

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  • Robin
  • 06-10-18

Stunning and inspiring read

An amazing story that is both inspiring and heartwarming. Ben Ryan is a credit to the world of Rugby

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-29-19

brilliant, not just for rugby fans

a story about people, relationships and a country. highly recommended whether you are sports fan or not

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-19

Rugby yes but so much more

As a rugby fan this book delivers much in terms of coaching insights but fundamentally it’s a human story which is uplifting and brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-19

Excellent read

Excellent book gives great insight into Ben Ryans coaching style, career and the Fijian culture.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K. Tobin
  • 07-16-19

Inspirational

Winner of the 2019 Telegraph Sports Book Of The Year. Londoner Ben Ryan coached the Fiji Rugby 7s team to Olympic Gold in Rio in 2016. This is the tale of three years of laughter, lifelong friendships, and building and motivating a winning team with no help from the Fijian Rugby Federation. It cost him everything, and the story is quite bittersweet, but this is an inspirational tale of what it takes to succeed at the highest level. Well worth a read ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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  • robert
  • 06-24-19

super story

amazing book, very well written, very emotional, brilliant use of other stories in his life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Huw Taylor
  • 06-19-19

Emotional journey .. loved every minute !

The highs and lows , the challenges and rewards , the sacrifices and accolades ... brought the Fiji 7’s story alive ! I found myself with a warm feeling and in tears in equal measure . Thoroughly recommended .

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  • Jone Yabaki
  • 06-11-19

Great book

loved it. Great story of the Olympic journey. you won't be able to put it down

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-19

So Good I’ve purchased it as a gift 5 times!

I loved this book! It’s a great read and you don’t have to be a Rugby fan to enjoy it. It’s made even more special by the fact that Ben Ryan reads it himself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Owen1799
  • 01-09-20

Fascinating...

A fascinating brook from cultural, leadership and management perspectives. So much more than a sport book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-22-19

Vinaka!

Great read! Vinaka for sharing your amazing story that we followed live every step to Olympic glory! Veilomani Ben!

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  • Steve Lynch
  • 09-17-18

Must read for any coach

Ben Ryan does an excellent job with this book. Not only one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across, but also countless lessons for an amateur/school coach like myself. If everyone moved to Fiji for a few years and channeled their inner islander as Ben did, I believe the world would be a much better place. Please take the time to read, you won’t regret it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-18

Amazing

I read the book and also listened to this audio version. Love it and love Ben’s love for Fiji, the people and culture. It’s amazing what goes on behind the scenes. Things that us as fans are not aware of. We love you Ratu! If you’re looking for a good read that has love, passion, “rags to riches” roller coaster adventure of emotions then this one is a goodie!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-23-18

amazing story

loved it! finished in a couple days. great uplifting story anyone would enjoy from a mad rugby supporter to an everyday person.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-18-18

wonderful

didn't put it down... loved it and appreciated the candor and honest review of the 3 yrs

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  • Torika
  • 06-09-18

Beautifully written, could not put it down.

As an Australian born Fijian and avid fan of our beloved Fiji 7s team, i couldn't wait to read this. I thought I might get bored in parts, if the rugby talk went to much in detail but Im happy to report that never happened. Brilliantly documented story of the Fiji Olympic journey through the eyes of Ben Ryan and a perfectly painted picture of the Fijian way of life. Could not be prouder. Thank you for living your truth and sharing your story. Vinaka Ben #veilomani

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  • Ant
  • 06-08-18

An inspiring story told with honesty and heart

A great story of an inspiring and important journey for the people of Fiji. A fantastic leadership role model of adaptation to suit individuals yet designed to achieve a common goal. A reminder to also enjoy the moments and to keep things in perspective. Vinaka Ben.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-18

Excellent narration and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story

Loved the entire book and took me three days to finish the entire book. I’d recommend the book to everybody who has followed Ben Ryan’s career and how he took the Fiji 7’s team to winning their first ever Olympic medal. Loved it and can’t wait to actually grab a copy of the book and a movie worthy story 🤗😄👍🏽