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'He's banging on the door' - Skivington tips leftfield England candidate

By PA
Ruan Ackermann /PA

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Gloucester head coach George Skivington believes Ruan Ackermann is now “banging on the door” of England boss Eddie Jones after shining again in Friday night’s hard-fought win over London Irish.

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The number eight scored two tries in a man-of-the-match display as Gloucester continued their rich vein of form with a 24-7 victory at Kingsholm.

Playing in an impressive pack, Ackermann is in the form of his life and Skivington feels the South Africa-born 26-year-old must be close to an England call-up.

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Skivington said: “He’s banging on the door and surely can’t be ignored by Eddie Jones but all he can do is to keep going with what he’s doing.”

Despite Ackermann’s efforts, it was not a totally convincing performance from Gloucester as they had to survive a huge amount of early pressure before subduing a resolute Irish side that were unfortunate to lose by such a wide margin.

However, the win took Gloucester – for whom Ollie Thorley also scored a try – up to second in the Gallagher Premiership table.

Skivington said: “I’ll take being second in the table for now but obviously that is likely to change over the weekend.

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“We knew we would have to work hard to win against an in-form side as I thought beforehand that the sides were well-matched and the game would be decided by small margins.

“Our defence was outstanding, especially in that first 10 minutes when we under a barrage of pressure, and to hold them to just one try was a tremendous effort as they score a lot of tries.

“We did score a couple of tries from driving mauls but sides are doing a lot of work at counter-acting our strength.

“Irish were quite successful in doing that tonight and I will have to have a look at how they achieved it.”

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London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney, whose side’s points came from a converted Olly Cracknell try, was disappointed to come away from the game with nothing.

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He said: “We had a tremendous amount of early pressure but you must take the opportunities, which come your way and we didn’t.

“They game is decided on fine margins but fair play to Gloucester they were able to slow down a lot of our ball and stop the flow of the game.

“They are very strong in defence and their driving maul is a very effective weapon. It’s a strong part of the game and they benefitted from it by scoring two tries tonight.

“It’s always disappointing to come away pointless but we were a little bit off in terms of control.”

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