Johan Ackermann joined Gloucester Rugby at the start of the 2017 season. Photo: Luis Tejido/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Former Lions head coach Johan Ackermann is one of five men in the running to be named the Premiership’s Director of Rugby for the season.

Ackermann, who joined Gloucester Rugby at the start of the 2017 season, is joined on the shortlist by Rob Baxter (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Boyd (Northampton Saints), Pat Lam (Bristol Bears) and Mark McCall (Saracens).

The winner will be announced next Wednesday at the annual Premiership Awards evening. McCall and Baxter have both won the award before.

With one game to go in the 2018/19 season, Ackermann’s Gloucester are in third place on the points table with 13 wins from 21 games and 66 points.

Exeter Chiefs are on top with 16 wins and 81 points, while Saracens – recently crowned Champions Cup winners – are second, also with 16 wins and 77 points.

Gloucester are away to Sale Sharks in their last league game of the season this Saturday and will thus be up against a strong South African presence in the home team in the likes of Faf de Klerk and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Meanwhile, De Klerk and fellow South African scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who now plays for Northampton, have been nominated by the Rugby Players Association in the UK for the award of Player of the Season.

The three other candidates are Danny Cipriani (Gloucester), Santiago Cordero (Exeter Chiefs) and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs).


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