Reports suggest Ackermann close to Lions exit

    2017-03-23 10:40

    Cape Town - Reports are growing stronger that Johan Ackermann will leave the Lions to accept a deal with English club Gloucester.

    Ackermann, who has been in charge at the Lions since 2013, last week confirmed he was offered the head coaching position at the English Premiership outfit.

    He was still pondering whether to accept the role.

    But as things currently stand, the possibility of Ackermann leaving the Lions are looking all the more likely.

    According to the GloucestershireLive website, Mohed Altrad - the billionaire owner of French club Montpellier - is set to be given the go-ahead by European rugby bosses to invest in Gloucester.

    The takeover bid has been rumbling on for several weeks and it is understood that Altrad will not be able to become a majority shareholder at Kingsholm but will still have a controlling interest of 45 percent.

    Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan earlier stated that the club would be run completely autonomously and Altrad has had no influence on the search for a new head coach.

    However, Vaughan this week said on his official Twitter account that their search for a new head coach was “going well”.

    That could be seen as further indication that Gloucester are close to securing the services of Ackermann.

    And listening to Ackermann talk after the Lions’ 44-14 win over the Reds last Saturday, it would not come as a surprise if he was to leave Johannesburg.

    "The whole decision is quite tough," Ackermann said.

    "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 (Gloucester) 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."

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