Super Rugby

Fiji needs Super Rugby franchise - former sevens coach Ryan

Former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan believes a Super Rugby franchise is required if the Pacific Island nation are to reach their full potential.

Ryan led Fiji to the country's first ever Olympic gold at Rio 2016, but feels a lack of resources are limiting the further development of the national game.

Wasps forward Nathan Hughes made his England debut against South Africa last weekend and could appear against his native Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Hughes confessed he opted against playing for the country of his birth due to the presence of better opportunities elsewhere, and Ryan thinks the way to stop such incidents occurring is through the creation of a Super Rugby side based in Fiji.

"It shows that Nathan has good character; he was honest. You're not going to moan at any player who goes overseas to earn some money," Ryan told Sky Sports.

"We should stop complaining about that, fight fire with fire and have money on the island through a [Super Rugby] franchise.

"If you're looking at England, it's resources and consistency, he's going to get a fair crack. Whereas in Fiji sometimes, coaches and committees have come and gone, and you've been dropped for no apparent reason.

"That could be behind Nathan's thinking, that he's going into a resourced team that can win things."

Ryan does not see a gap in quality between England and Fiji, suggesting it is only organisational issues that let the southern hemisphere side down.

He continued: "At the moment Fiji could have a miracle worker at the helm, but with the lack of time that the boys get…

"They had a three-day camp before the Barbarians game, sandwiched between Top 14 games that the boys had to get released for. How you can expect them to perform consistently on an international stage, however good they are?

"When they line up against England, one to 15, there's nothing in it. It's the other stuff."