Gloucester’s New Headcoach, Johan Ackermann

Gloucester announced late last season that current Lions head coach Johan Ackermann would take charge of the side following Laurie Fisher’s resignation. We take a look at what Gloucester are getting with their new head coach.

Former Springbok Ackermann took charge of the Johannesburg side in 2012. The 13 times capped internstional lock took charge of the Lions after stepping up from assistant coach to head coach. This promotion followed controversial suspension of at the time head coach John Mitchell.

Success with the Lions

South African coach of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Ackermann led the Lions back into Super Rugby following relegation under Mitchell’s foundations. Alongside attack coach Swys De Bruin, Ackermann coached the Lions to the Grand Final, breaking the Super Rugby try scoring record on the way.


Work with mental coach Jannie Putter

An interesting aspect of Ackermann’s success with the Lions was his work with Psychology Jannie Putter. Putter worked as the Lions mental coach, and is the author of ‘The Sport Coach: The Psychology Behind Coaching’. Check out his website:

Ackermann and Putter placed a large importance on player lead standards, selecting specific players to form a senior group in charge of their teams own success both in training and matches.

So what does this tell us?

We know that Ackermann is an extremely well regarded coach and one South Africa were not happy to see leave their shores. We also know how much importance Ackermann places on the mentality and player led culture in his sides. If we in the English rugby scene have learnt anything from the success of Eddie Jones in the last two years, it’s the importance of that mentality.

Ackermann clearly places a lot of importance on scoring a large number of tries. This is something premiership finalists Wasps and Exeter Chiefs showed the importance of last season.

Gloucester have been perennial underachievers over the last 5 years. Unable to recreate the success of finishing top of the premiership back to back in the 2006/7 and 2007/8 campaigns.

Gloucester go into the 2017/18 season with plenty of high quality players. Jonny May, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa, Jeremy Thrush, Ross Moriarty, Willi Heinz and Jason Woodward are a core group of players Ackermann can build around. Much in the way he did with Lions and now Springbok captain Warren Whitely. With the quality of playing staff at Ackermann’s disposal, Gloucester fans should be excited about their clubs future.


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