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Ruan Ackermann to quit Gloucester despite signing contract extension

By Neil Fissler
Gloucester's Ruan Ackermann (Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ruan Ackermann is heading for the exit door at Gallagher Premiership strugglers Gloucester and is set for a move to Japan where he will be playing for Yokohama Canon Eagles next season.

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Fissler Confidential exclusively revealed last Saturday, just hours after the previous night’s EPCR Challenge Cup final defeat at the hands of the Sharks, that the South African back-rower was in discussions with Gloucester about a shock departure from the English club.

The 28-year-old made 151 appearances for the Cherry and Whites since moving from the Lions in 2017 when his father Johan was appointed head coach at Kingsholm.

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He had been touted for a move back to South Africa and held talks with the Lions earlier in the season. However, in February he opted to commit his future to Gloucester and sign a new contract with the Premiership Rugby Cup winners.

Despite agreeing to stay in the West Country and George Skivington hailing it as a great coup, Ackermann continued to attract interest from Japan where Ackermann Snr has just led Urayasu D-Rocks to a promotion back to the top flight.

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Yokohama Canon Eagles, who last weekend lost the Japan League One third-place play-off game 33-40 to Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath, have now won the race to sign him up on what is understood to be a lucrative two-year deal.

The Canon Eagles had a strong South African influence in their squad this season, with Faf de Klerk, Kobus van Dyk, Jesse Kriel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and SP Marais all plying their trade with the club.

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Ackermann said Gloucester felt like a “second home” after agreeing to stay on earlier this year. He had been a potential wildcard for England’s Rugby World Cup squad last year after his name came up in a conversation between Skivington and Steve Borthwick.

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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