Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Ackermann on his way back to the Lions?

The loose forward has gained plenty of experience playing in England for the last seven years.

Gloucester-based South African loose-forward Ruan Ackermann looks set to return to his country of birth at the end of the current European season, with a number of local teams seemingly chasing the 28-year-old’s signature.

The son of former Lions boss and Springbok player, Johan Ackermann, has been playing in England for Gloucester since 2017. He joined the team with his father after playing for the Lions previously.

Ackermann has played in well over 100 games for the English club, but having qualified to play for England on residency, without yet being picked, looks set to return to South Africa in the hope of playing for the Springboks.

Lions connection

The Sharks are among the teams rumoured to be interested in signing the flanker and No 8, who can also play lock, but according to some sources Ackermann could even return to the Lions, where he made his name playing under his father in 2016 and 2017.

According to The Rugby Paper in England, the Lions are seemingly the team most likely to land Ackermann.

While the Lions have a number of quality loose forwards in their squad and Francke Horn is a rising No 8 star in local rugby also with an eye on national selection, Ackermann has plenty of experience and could play anywhere in the back row.

And, with Emmanuel Tshituka set to leave the Joburg-based side for the Sharks, where his older brother, Vincent, now plays, there is an opening in the Lions squad for an additional loose forward.

The other loose forwards in the Lions’ URC squad at the moment include the likes of Hanru Sirgel, JC Pretorius, Izan Esterhuizen, Ruhan Straeuli, Travis Gordon and Ruan Venter, all young players with limited experience.

Ackermann has previously also played for the Barbarians and the SA ‘A’ side and long been considered a possible Test option.

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