Ackermann's future to be revealed
Johannesburg - Lions coach Johan Ackermann will finally reveal his plans for his future on Monday, but expectations are that he will take up a coaching offer at Gloucester for the foreseeable future, supersport.com reports.
Ackermann has been mum on the question and after the Lions’ win against the Sharks on Saturday night, Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli cut off any questions about the job offer, promising more clarity on Monday when the Lions address the issue at a press conference at 11:00.
But it is known that there have been behind-the-scenes discussions over the past few weeks as the Lions desperately tried to keep Ackermann in Johannesburg to continue on the legacy he has built up with this side.
Whether those have succeeded, or whether Ackermann has been retained for the Currie Cup perhaps as an alternative, waits to be seen, but Lions’ fans will finally know the answer when the coach gives his reasons for the decision he has taken.
The English club's offer is known to be a significant one, and more than that, the opportunity to coach in a new environment, to broaden his own horizons and grow as a coach in a totally new environment and comes with some serious financial backing.
Ackermann would replace former Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher, who has also publicly backed him for the position. The Lions coach had said privately he would want to wait until the bye week before making any big decisions, especially as he didn’t want it to take away from the focus of the team on their current Super Rugby campaign.
And publicly he opened up two weeks ago about the offer, saying it was an opportunity he had to consider very seriously.
“The question for me is, where do I see my next challenge? Do I want to coach another three or four Super Rugby seasons and believe that that will be the best for me as a coach? Or is it time to go and test myself in Europe or at a Premiership level and grow as a coach there?
"There is so much more to it than that. Your children are at school, your wife is happy, your friends are here, the people that you love, your culture, your language... it's a rugby decision but it's also an emotional decision.
"It's probably the best time to go if you want to go because they aren't doing as well as they would like, but that's not to say that I'm going to be the ones to change it. Time will tell,” he said two weeks ago.
If Ackermann is to leave, it is thought that Swys de Bruin, his assistant would take over the coaching role for the union and become head coach to ensure continuity. De Bruin has been instrumental in the Lions attacking game and previously coached Griquas and at the Sharks junior sides before joining Ackermann in the role.
Gloucester are struggling mid-table in the Premiership and want to return to being a strength in European rugby and it is understood that Ackermann would be able to purchase players as well to bolster his side’s needs. He would keep his SA A coaching position for now, and will still be in charge for the series against the French Barbarians.