Rugby

Ackermann: Playing for England an option

2017-11-02 14:40
Ruan Ackermann (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South African-born Ruan Ackermann is eager to explore the option of playing Test rugby for England.

The 21-year-old loose forward joined Gloucester from the Lions earlier this year.

He followed his coach - and father - Johan to the English club after both played instrumental roles in helping the Lions reach this year’s Super Rugby final.

This Saturday, Ackermann will play for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Twickenham and it may not be the last time he experiences the home dressing room at the famous ground.

Ackermann could qualify for England on residency grounds in August 2020 - just four months before World Rugby's new eligibility laws kick in.

"I'm still young so I can always go back (to South Africa)," Ackermann told the KweseESPN website when asked about his international future.

“(But) I can give myself a fair shot here and you never know, hopefully it goes well and you can create yourself an option of playing for England as well."

Ackermann however noted that he would not turn down the opportunity of playing for his country of birth.

“But if it doesn't come and the England door opens up, I mean, I'm still young and England is a proud nation, so why not?” he added.

Ackermann is one of nine South Africans in the Barbarians squad for Saturday’s game against the world champions.

Former Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss will play his first competitive match since the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season, while Currie Cup winner and Western Province flyhalf Robert du Preez is another exciting call-up.

There is also a strong Lions presence in the form of Kwagga Smith, Jacques van Rooyen and Harold Vorster.

Former Lions hooker Akker van der Merwe, currently with the Sharks, is included while there are a couple of Japanese-based South Africans in Willie Britz (Sunwolves) and Ruan Smith (Toyota Verblitz).

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00 (SA time).

Barbarians squad:

Forwards

Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester), Dominic Bird (Chiefs), Willie Britz (Sunwolves), Sam Carter (Brumbies), Simone Favaro (Fiamme Oro), Ben Franks (London Irish), Dillon Hunt (Highlanders), Steven Luatua (Bristol), Atu Moli (Chiefs), Kwagga Smith (Lions), Ruan Smith (Toyota Verblitz), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Akker van der Merwe (Sharks), Jacques van Rooyen (Lions), Luke Whitelock (Highlanders & New Zealand)

Backs

Vince Aso (Hurricanes), George Bridge (Crusaders), Richard Buckman (Highlanders), Mitchell Drummond (Crusaders), Robert du Preez (Stormers), Andy Ellis (Kobelco Steelers), Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Nic Stirzaker (Rebels), Harold Vorster (Lions)

Read more on:    gloucester  |  england  |  barbarians  |  ruan ackermann  |  rugby
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