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Ben Ryan to leave England Sevens

03 August 2013

  • Ben Ryan to step down from England Sevens after six years in charge
  • “I’m proud of what England Sevens achieved but it is right to move on ” – Ryan
Ben Ryan celebrates with his players after winning the Wellington Sevens in New Zealand

Photo: Getty Images

Ben Ryan is to stand down as England Sevens Head Coach after more than six years in charge of the national side.

The 41 year old will help ensure a smooth transition takes place ahead of the new HSBC Sevens World Series – which starts in Australia on October 12 – with the recruitment process to identify his successor getting underway shortly.

England Sevens are also recruiting an Assistant Coach as Russell Earnshaw leaves the programme to take up a teaching career in Economics at Eastbourne College next month.

Ryan led the side through 56 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments, reaching the semi finals or better 28 times and winning titles in Wellington (2008, 2013), Dubai (2010, 2011) and London (2008). England finished third overall in the series in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Under his stewardship England also won the FIRA/AER European Grand Prix series in 2012, finished fourth at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and second at this summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow. England Under 18 also lifted the Junior Commonwealth Games sevens title in 2011 in his time at the helm.

Ryan said: “I’m proud of what England Sevens has achieved in the last six years but I have decided that it is right for me and my career progress that I move on and let someone new take the side forward.

Ben Ryan claps his players off the pitch at the Marriott London Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

“I’ve loved working as England Sevens Head Coach and enjoyed every minute in a time of dramatic change for the sport and the squad. In 2007 I met one player for the first time at the airport heading for a tournament; six years later we have a full-time England squad operating to the highest professional standards.

“We’ve been the leading northern hemisphere side throughout that period and we’ve recorded some great tournament victories – including eight individual wins over New Zealand – as well as reaching a World Cup final for the first time in 20 years. Eleven of our players have gone on to play for England at senior level in that time.

“As a coach your goal is always to leave something in better shape to pass on to the next generation and I believe that’s been achieved.”

Ryan also oversaw the team’s transition to a full-time programme in 2010-11 and there are now 19 contracted England players preparing for the start of the new season in October. His role in changing the image of sevens as a sport is not lost on RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster chats to England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan

Photo: Getty Images

He said: “Ben deserves a tremendous vote of thanks for all his efforts while in charge of the England Sevens team. He has made an important contribution both to England and to the development of the sport globally during a period of great change following its inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.

“He will leave firm foundations in place and a full-time squad who will be ambitious to make an impact next season in the HSBC Sevens World Series and at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster added: “Ben’s made a major impact on and off the field in developing our sevens programme and making sure the team achieves high standards in international competition.

“He’s a first class coach who has helped his players fulfil their potential and many of them have benefited from his guidance on the way to senior international honours.

“I’m sure he will go on to achieve more great things and wish him all the best for his future career.”

Former England Sevens Assistant Coach Russell Earnshaw, who is taking up a teaching career in Economics

Photo: Getty Images

Earnshaw has had a distinguished playing and coaching career, not only with the England Sevens senior side, but also with the GB Student Sevens team who he coached to gold in the World Games in Brive last year. 

He said: “I leave behind some great people in the programme, in particular a top group of players and a fantastic management team who put in hard work and dedication behind the scenes. I look forward to watching their progress in the same way I've been fortunate enough to watch the likes of Ben and Tom Youngs progress from England Sevens to a winning British and Irish Lions Tour.”