Gloucester Rugby look set to name George Skivington as their new head coach, bringing to an end their search to replace Japan bound Johan Ackermann, RugbyPass understands.

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A former captain of London Irish, the 37-year-old retired in the summer of 2016 before being named forwards coach. Although at the start of his coaching career, Skivington is highly rated within coaching circles and joins Gloucester after a successful stint under Nick Kennedy and latterly Less Kiss and Declan Kidney at the Exiles.

His first significant coaching experience came while still playing, when he acted as an assistant coach at Ealing Trailfinders from 2014 to 2016. Ealing gained promotion from National League 1 in 2014/15 and went on to enjoy a strong campaign in the championship the following season.

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Billy Whizz at his blinding best in 2003.

Skivington still has a year to run on his contract at Irish, and RugbyPass understands that Cherry and Whites will be compensating their rivals to avail of his services heading into the latter half of the year.

The capture of Skivington is timely. Gloucester have undergone significant upheaval in the last three months, with the departure of Ackermann and their long-standing Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, and there has been significant speculation over who would take up the role.

They had been linked with former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and former Leicester Tigers and current Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill, although the latter had ruled himself out of the running early doors.

Cheika was said to have been high Gloucester’s list of targets, with the club indicating that they were hopeful of announcing new appointments in early July. However, Cheika distanced himself from the gig over the weekend, saying: “I haven’t had anything to do with them.”

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Skivington made 62 appearances for London Irish in total after stints with Saracens, Wasps and Leicester Tigers. He successfully led the 2010 England Saxons team to Churchill Cup success and was called up to the 2011 England Six Nations squad as injury cover for Courtney Lawes.

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