England Sevens coach Ben Ryan reveals pain after failing to defend Dubai title
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: December 7, 2012 5:30am
Ben Ryan: Disappointed not to have defended Sevens crown
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan claims his side's failure to defend their Dubai Sevens title "hurt" him and the squad.
Having suffered a disappointing opening leg to the HSBC Sevens World Series in Australia, England bowed out of the pool stages of the main draw in Dubai after defeats to South Africa and Portugal.
England did go on to beat Spain in the Shield competition but that was scant consolation for the players - who looked less than thrilled when they collected their award.
And Ryan, who gave an emotional interview on Sky Sports after the narrow pool win over Samoa, admitted that the loss of their title had got to him and his squad.
"No one likes to lose," he told Sky Sports. "This isn't just a pay cheque at the end of the month for us, we want to do well for the team and the country.
"It was emotional for us. We are not cold-hearted rugby players, we care and are passionate about representing our country. If that means that I struggle to answer a question on TV then fine, I have no regrets."
"Dubai has been a happy hunting ground for us in the past and we felt we could defend our title so it hurt to lose out.
"It was emotional for us. We are not cold-hearted rugby players, we care and are passionate about representing our country. If that means that I struggle to answer a question on TV then fine, I have no regrets.
"No one can say we do not give everything we have every time we play."
Although upset at the way things ultimately panned out in Dubai, Ryan insists there were still positives to take away from the weekend.
"Looking at the games afterwards, we didn't play that badly and it was an improvement on Brisbane," he said. "We should have beaten South Africa as we had the majority of possession and they were living off scraps. We were the only team to beat Samoa - the eventual winners - over the course of the weekend and we were fairly comfortable against them.
"We then had a pretty bizarre game against Portugal but we went on to record our biggest win over Australia, which was pleasing. We then finished off on a positive note by beating a really competitive Spain to win the Shield.
"We are not trying to hide from the fact that it was a hugely disappointing weekend for us - we are upset not to have defended our title as we felt we had the personnel to do the job. However the young lads will have learned about the dos and don'ts of international Sevens."
England's early exit from the main draw in Dubai means that they have been handed a handed a tougher draw for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
England will face Series champions New Zealand, who are chasing a fourth successive Port Elizabeth title, Fiji and Scotland this weekend.
However Ryan, who is likely to make at least one change to his side with Tom Mitchell the latest to head to the treatment room, is pleased his side's build up.
"We've had a good preparation week," he added. "It's a long journey here but the lads are all really focused on building on the positives from Dubai."
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