Vei Lomani is a phrase neatly inked on the wrist of legendary rugby coach Ben Ryan. It’s a Fijian phrase that translates to “love one another, peace with each other and work together”. Placing all differences aside and fighting for the greater good are central to Ben’s philosophy and coaching style.
He is widely regarded as the most successful men’s rugby sevens coach in the world – the only coach winning Continental, World and Olympic titles!
Years before those achievements Ben was already very involved in sports. He started competing in rugby back in 1971 when he was only 7 years old. He completed an undergraduate degree in sports science and later graduated with a PGCE and a MPhil from Cambridge University where he won the two varsity games as a scrum-half.
Ben’s coaching career began in 1997. He took the U15 football team at Cardinal Wiseman, London through an unbeaten season. 5 years later he signed his first professional rugby coaching contract. He is also the longest-serving England 7s Head coach, in charge of 58 world series 7s tournaments.
In 2015 Ben did the seemingly impossible. He took a team that was so unmotivated and unfit that in their first training session Ben actually won the fitness challenge. Soon after that, they were winning back-to-back World Series titles and consecutive Hong Kong 7s tournaments. In 2016 Ben became the most successful Fijian Rugby 7s coach of all time by managing the team to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games – Fiji’s first ever gold Olympic medal.
He is now accorded the highest order as he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Fiji. He is depicted on the reverse of a circulating 50 cent coin, and on the front of a circulating commemorative $7 banknote.