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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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Stunning and inspiring read

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

This is undoubtedly up there with the best sporting book I have read. Regardless of being a rugby fan the story is incredible both on and off the field. What makes it even better is Ben narrating it himself which brings you even closer to the emotional rollercoaster that he, the team and the people of Fiji went on during his time as the coach. A wonderful insight into a paradise of rugby talent

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best audiobook I've listened to

great first hand insight into a world of sports. thank you to Ben Ryan for doing this as it's given us a real perspective of real life. great ending!

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Brilliant!

Absolutely gripped from the first chapter. Beautifully narrated. A real insight to Fijian rugby. Inspirational.

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Incredible book. Sport, love, politics & intrigue.

I'd liken this book to the 'Last King of Scotland', it held my attention from moment 1. I'm a rugby nut so it helps but this was so much more than rugby. You had a sport mad dictator, a visionary coach who had to learn to play politics. A coach who had to become a father figure, psychiatrist, wheeler dealer and anthropologist. Amazing just amazing.

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THE BEST BOOK EVER !

Inspiring , Amazing,
Super, Breath Taking, Emotional,
Brilliant, Class
God Bless Fiji
Super and Amazing People

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Simply Magical

An incredible story that’s hard to put down.
Best rugby book in years and proof that good things happen to good people.

Whole heartedly recommend this to anyone and everyone.

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Outstanding

Probably the most interesting sporting book I have had the pleasure of reading thus far!

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Vei lomani

Every fiji rugby fan need to read/listen to this book.
Loved evey bit of it !

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Great sentiment and ideology and even better rugby

There’s not too much on Ben’s life which I must admit I prefer in books about sports people.

However the messages on Fiji island life, grassroots rugby to gold medal level, leadership and world rugby business is great.

This is perfect for all rugby fans and as well as very interesting and entertaining some parts had me in stitches.

Remember you heard it here on the coconut wireless 🌴

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  • Taylor Everett
  • 25-12-18

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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  • Maria wainiqolo
  • 22-10-18

veilomani

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

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  • Miri
  • 12-07-18

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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  • Carl Ngamoki-Cameron
  • 01-07-18

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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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-06-18

Brilliant, Captivating, Inspiring and insightful!

Loved it! The fact that Ben narrates the audio version of the book carries a lot more weight as it draws directly from his emotions and personal experiences setting the exact tone and besides, was great to hear his voice. A great talanoa by the man himself! Simply awesome!