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3 April 2017, 11:18
Johan Ackermann has been named as the new Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby.
The 47-year-old former Springbok is currently the Head Coach of the Lions in South Africa and will take up his position following the conclusion of their Super Rugby campaign.
Ackermann was capped 13 times by his country and was a member of the victorious South Africa squad at Rugby World Cup 2007 and played for The Blue Bulls, The Lions, The Griquas and the Sharks during a long and distinguished playing career in South Africa.
He has experience of the Premiership having enjoyed a spell as a player at Northampton Saints and also played for Calvisano in Italy.
Having retired from playing in 2008, Ackermann was appointed as Forwards coach of the Lions in Super Rugby in 2010 where he worked with Head Coach, John Mitchell until 2013 when he took over the Head Coach position of the Lions in both Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions.
Having dropped out of Super Rugby at the end of 2012, Ackermann led the Lions to promotion back into Super Rugby in 2013 and took them to the Super Final last season where they narrowly lost to the Hurricanes.
His success at both Currie Cup and Super Rugby level was recognised in South Africa where he was named South African Coach of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was Head Coach of South Africa A last season.
During that period, Ackermann has delivered success at team level but has also demonstrated an ability to develop young South African players who have gone on to play for the Springboks.
Gloucester's Director of Rugby David Humphreys was an understandably happy man to have secured the services of his preferred candidate so quickly.
"We're all delighted that Johan has agreed to become the next Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby. He is one of the top coaching talents in World Rugby, and it's a significant coup for the club to recruit someone of his calibre.
"When we first spoke to Johan, we were struck by the enthusiasm and energy he displayed to take up the challenge at Gloucester but, once we had met with him, we knew he was the person we wanted to take the club forward.
"We were particularly impressed by his proven ability to take a team that has under-performed, and turned them into Championship contenders. Their year on year progression has been impressive and they are continuing that upward trend this season.
"The way that the Lions play in Super Rugby under his leadership has attracted many admirers around the world, as they have managed to create a winning brand but are also capable of playing an attractive style of rugby.''