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Ackermann to leave Lions and coach in England

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Lions Super Rugby head coach Johan Ackermann will leave the Johannesburg franchise and take up a new position with English club Gloucester at the end of the Super rugby season.

Ackermann coached the Lions to a Super Rugby final last season and the Lions are currently the top South African team.

The Lions coach and Lions Rugby Company (Pty) Ltd have agreed that Ackermann will fuflill his duties to the Lions and leave at the end of 2017 Super Rugby season.

In his letter addressed to the Lions Ackermann stated that “I have (however) come to a crossroad in my career and believe that my coaching journey needs to change in order for me to grow [as a coach]”.

Ackermann was appointed head coach of the Lions in 2013 after being assistant coach to the Super Rugby side since 2010.

Under his watch the Lions to date have played in 112 matches which includes 57 Super Rugby games: 34 wins, 24 losses, 1 draw, and 55 Currie Cup matches. He has been selected as SA Rugby Coach of the Year for the last three consecutive years and coached the SA A side in 2016.

“Coach Ackers” as he is called won 7 out of 16 games in his first tenure as coach in 2014 – the most games they have ever won since 2000 and in 2015 the Lions also achieved wins in 9 out of 16 games – the most Super Rugby matches they have ever won since the inception into Super Rugby. In 2016 Ackermann as Head Coach took the Emirates Lions to Wellington facing the Hurricanes in the final of the Vodacom Super Rugby.

As a player Ackermann represented a number of high profiled teams in over 180 matches as well as the Springboks in 13 test matches.

“I honour and respect the decision and wish him all the best. I hope he grows in this new chapter of his career and returns to South Africa an even better coach. Ackers is a valuable asset to the Lions, our community and our culture and more importantly to SA Rugby. ”

“Johan will be missed, but we have experienced coaches in our structures and that will ensure continuity,” concludes Rudolf Straeuli, Chief Executive Officer at the Lions Rugby Company (Pty) Ltd.

Meanwhile Gloucester Rugby have confirmed that Ackermann will be the club’s new Head Coach ahead for the 2017-18 season.

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