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Ben Gollings makes plea for patience in wake of legend's brutal criticism

By Chris Jones
Fiji coach Ben Gollings (2L) gestures during the HSBC Rugby Sevens semi-final cup match between Fiji and New Zealand in Singapore on April 9, 2023. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Fiji men’s 7s head coach Ben Gollings, the subject of a personal attack from sevens legend Jerry Tuwai, has attempted to head off more criticism of his role by insisting teams have to “go through the valleys and dark times.”


Gollings is preparing his squad for the next HSBC SVNS leg in Perth later this month with the defence of Fiji’s Olympic Games gold medal in Paris looming this summer having not won any of the HSBC rounds last year. He told the Fiji Times: “Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we can’t be winning tournaments and games all the time. Sometimes we have to go through the valleys and dark times so that we can work on ourselves and stay focused on our goal.

“This is a very important year for us, so we want to get it started on a high. Winning the first tournament of the season, which is the Perth 7s, is our next task and the boys are looking forward to competing.”

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Double Olympic gold medallist Tuwai reacted to being told he must prove he is good enough to be part of the current Fiji Sevens squad by launching a scathing attack on Gollings saying the job is more than the former England star “can handle.”

Fiji won the Olympic gold when coached by Ben Ryan in Rio in 2016 and defended it under former head coach Gareth Baber in Japan leaving Golings with a unique legacy to live up to. He added: “We know it will not be easy as we go through the season toward the Olympics as all the teams out there will be looking to beat Fiji.

“Defending the Olympic title as back to back champions comes with its own set of challenges.”

To keep his squad match fit, Gollings’ players will take part in the McDonald’s Fiji Coral Coast 7s in Sigatoka. “For the tournament, we aim to test our players and gauge their performance against our local teams,” he said. “Especially for the new and younger players in the side, the tournament will be an opportunity for them to prove themselves before we head for our first international 7s tournament for the year in Australia.”



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