Johan Ackermann leaves Gloucester Rugby after less than three years in charge

Johan Ackermann will not be Gloucester Rugby’s head coach when the Gallagher Premiership returns after the current hiatus due to the coronavirus.

Despite leading Gloucester to their first Premiership semi-final for eight years in 2019, Ackermann has decided to leave Kingsholm and pursue his coaching career in Japan for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.

The Cherry and Whites currently sit in ninth place, nine points away from the play-off places in what is the most competitive season ever.

Currently, Irishman David Humphreys remains in his position as Director of Rugby. In addition, flanker Ruan Ackermann isn’t expected to follow his father out of the door.

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Ackermann’s time at Gloucester

The South African joined Gloucester in 2017 and improved the team’s results considerably. He oversaw the signing of fly-half Danny Cipriani who has retained his status as one of the best players in the league.

Within his first year at the club, he guided Gloucester to a Challenge Cup Final. A game they lost by a single point.

Gloucester’s performances never ignited in the bigger European competition, but Ackermann did help produce expansive rugby which was rewarded with a spot in the Premiership play-offs at the end of last season.

Year Prem GamesWinsWin %
Before Ack 2014/15 (9th)22941%
Before Ack 2015/16 (8th)221045%
Before Ack 2016/17 (9th)22732%
2017/18 (7th)221150%
2018/19 (3rd)231357%
Total 582848%

Where did it all go wrong?

Gloucester are struggling in the 2019/20 season and while they’re only a minimum of two bonus-point wins away from fourth place, their performances across the year are yet to warrant a top-four finish.

They’ve certainly not backed up performances from last year’s campaign.

But the fact that Ackermann walked away himself, perhaps shows some unrest behind the scenes. Ackermann isn’t exactly progressing in his own career by moving to Japan.

If he had moved to the international scene or made a return to South Africa in preparation for Rassie Erasmus’ job, then it’d make sense. But that’s not the case. The departure leaves a bad smell trail, and Gloucester need to find the source of this before they burn through yet another cycle of coaches in less than three years time.

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