Ackermann heading to Gloucester?
Emirates Lions coach Johan Ackermann dropped a bombshell on Thursday, admitting he seriously considering taking over the coaching reigns at English Premiership club Gloucester at the end of the current European season.
Ackermann, who has been in high demand since taking the Lions to the final of the Vodacom Super Rugby series last year, is favourite to take over from Laurie Fischer at the club and there is a very real possibility he may be gone before the Currie Cup season even starts.
While it may still take weeks before Ackermann makes a final decision, the Lions may well be looking for a new coach by the Currie Cup season after four years with the current set-up that brought them back from the brink of disaster to the cusp of glory.
Gloucester Director of Rugby David Humphreys was seen in Gauteng a week ago, ostensibly to discuss terms with Ackermann and met with him and his agent during his short stay in the country.
It is expected that if Ackermann does leave, he will take his long-serving assistant Swys de Bruin with him.
“There is an offer,” Ackermann admitted, “I have been offered an opportunity to go there. I’m in the process of looking at all the pros and cons of the situation and I will make a decision sooner rather than later because I don’t want the team to be distracted, we have a tournament to perform in, especially this weekend.
“I will make the call when the time is right.”
Pressed on exactly when that would be, Ackermann wouldn’t budge.
“I don’t want to force a time now, I don’t want the players to be in two minds and worry about my future. I want them to focus, we have the Reds and thereafter, if you put a time frame to it, then every week the players will wonder if is it this week? Or is it next week? I just want to say at this stage that there is an offer and it is something I’m looking at.”
Ackermann’s way may be blocked by the Lions, as he has a contract until the end of 2018, but with the buying power of the pound it isn’t unfathomable that Gloucester may decide to negotiate a fee to buy him out of the rest of his contract.
De Bruin, when contacted by SuperSport, said he had not received an offer to join Ackermann, and also had a contract until 2018.
Ackermann was re-appointed as the SA A coach for the series against the French Barbarians in June and would be a strong candidate for the Springbok coaching position when it next becomes available.