Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says Johan Ackerman’s decision to leave the Lions for Gloucester at the end of the season is a major loss to South African rugby.
Ackermann announced at a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday that he would be leaving the franchise that he has coached since 2013 to take up a new challenge in England.
Coetzee, heading up a Springbok camp in Stellenbosch, spoke on the back of the breaking news of Ackermann’s decision.
“Johan has really done well in taking the Lions to where they are today. Obviously he has made the decision and it must have been a tough decision,” said Coetzee.
“It’s going to be a big loss to the Lions franchise and to South African rugby in general to lose a man that has come this far and matured.
“A guy who has made mistakes, a guy who has really built up enough experience… to lose him, as a country, it’s not ideal.
“One has got to make decisions and he’s made a decision. I’d just like to wish him all the best for his future endeavours.”
Ackermann was appointed head coach of the Lions in 2013 after being assistant coach to the Super Rugby side since 2010.
He took the Lions to the Super Rugby final in 2016, where they lost to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
As a player, Ackermann represented a number of high profiled teams in over 180 matches as well as the Springboks in 13 Tests
The Springbok training squad assembled on Sunday after the weekend’s Super Rugby action and it will wrap up after a morning session on Tuesday.