Gloucester confirm Ruan Ackermann signing

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys is delighted with the signing of South African back-row forward Ruan Ackermann
Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys is delighted with the signing of South African back-row forward Ruan Ackermann

Gloucester have managed to acquire the services of flanker Ruan Ackermann ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The 21-year-old will make a switch from Super Rugby side Lions along with his father Johan Ackermann, who will take in charge of the Cherry and Whites next season.

Lions managed to reach the finals of the Super Rugby last two seasons under Johan but failed to cross the line with defeats to Hurricanes and Crusaders in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Meanwhile, Juan, was a part of the training squad of South Africa Under-20 team but missed out on the 2015 Junior World Cup selection and was part of the Junior Lions squad since 2014 with his Super Rugby debut coming two years later.

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys is confident that Ruan's addition will boost the club as they look for an improved performance this season.

"Anyone who has watched the Lions, Ruan has been one of their standout players," Humphreys said.

"We are trying to build a pack that is really competitive and really physical, and the attributes he brings to his game will be a huge addition and acquisition for the squad.

"We are pleased that we have been able to bring Ruan on board, and he will definitely complement our existing resources in the back-row, an area where we have real strength in depth and competition for places.

"Johan, of course, knows all about the qualities that Ruan possesses, and Ruan himself knows exactly the high standards that Johan expects of his team and his players.

"Ruan has proved time and time again in Super Rugby this season how capable a player he is, taking on and matching some quality performers, and has also demonstrated his versatility in playing across the back-row."

Highlighting the swap deal that saw Jonny May moving from Gloucester to Leicester and Ed Slater moving the other way round, Humphreys believes the sport is edging towards football.

"The reality now is that rugby is moving towards football," Humphreys added.

"In effect, Jonny came in and handed in a transfer request. He did it and explained it was for personal reasons and for some rugby reasons.

"We have the view, Johan and I, that we only want players playing for Gloucester who want to be here. We feel with the transfer fee and the addition of Ed Slater to our squad, we will be in a stronger position going into next season.

"Jonny has been an outstanding player for Gloucester for many years, and the X-factor he brings will be missed, no question.

"But if you look back at the last couple of seasons, we haven't lost games because we couldn't score tries - we have been scoring lots of tries - our big issue has been around making sure we are competitive up-front.

"When Jonny had decided he wanted to leave, we sat down as a management team and wanted to make sure we recruited where we needed to most."

Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table