“We’ve made progress, but the job is far from complete,” said Johan Ackermann. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

LONDON – Johan Ackermann’s success in guiding Gloucester to the Premiership playoffs has been rewarded with a new long-term contract, with the club saying they wanted to move fast to prevent others making offers.

The 48-year-old South African – who guided the Lions to two Super Rugby finals before leaving for Gloucester in 2017 – saw his hopes of reaching the Premiership final dashed in a 44-19 thumping by champions Saracens last weekend.

Director of rugby David Humphreys said securing him as head coach had been a priority as his achievements in taking Gloucester to the 2018 European Challenge Cup final in his first season and the playoffs in the second campaign would have attracted notice.

“Johan’s contribution over the past two seasons has been terrific,” Humphreys said in a club statement.

“We knew when we first approached him about the head coach role here at Gloucester Rugby that we had targeted the right man, and he has fully validated that decision.

“We’re not naive to think that the work he’s done here has gone unnoticed in the world of rugby.

“That’s why we wanted to move quickly to ensure that he remains an integral part of what we’re trying to achieve in the future.”

Ackermann, who played the last of his 13 Tests for the Springboks aged 37, has earned praise for expansive rugby and the inspirational signing of mercurial flyhalf Danny Cipriani.

Cipriani arguably had the finest season of his career, winning the Premiership player of the season award having begun it on a low after being arrested for assault in Jersey.

“The past two seasons have been tough but enjoyable,” said Ackermann.

“We’ve made progress, but the job is far from complete.

“We are only a certain way along the journey that we are making together, have a lot of hard work ahead of us and a lot to achieve.”

AFP