The Rugby Pod claim Gloucester have been in talks with Richard Cockerill about taking over at Kingsholm following the departures of head coach Johan Ackermann and director of rugby David Humphreys. Humphreys’ exit was announced on Tuesday 18 days after Ackermann decided to up sticks and take up a contract coaching in Japan.
The South African’s surprise leaving led to accusations that a behind the scenes power play was taking place. That has now resulted in the exit of Humphreys after six years at the helm, a turn of events Gloucester CEO Lance Bradley insisted was the Irishman’s own decision.
“To be clear, it was David’s idea to go. He was not pushed out,” said Bradley to the Telegraph. “I read the rumours that David wanted this guy as head coach and the rest of the board didn’t, that absolutely isn’t the case. It isn’t a result of a dispute. He just feels that with the direction the club needs to go in, that it is time for him to move on from. He is a hugely honourable man.”
With Humphreys now ousted along with Ackermann, there is every chance that Gloucester will amalgamate the director of rugby and the head coaching roles into one. It’s believed a shortlist of five candidates has been put together, some free agents, others under contract and one internal candidate, thought to be assistant coach Rory Teague.
Cockerill, the former Leicester boss, is currently making waves at Edinburgh and speaking prior to Humphreys’ exit, Jim Hamilton, the ex-Gloucester captain, said on The Rugby Pod: “Gloucester want him and he’s talking to them apparently.
“I don’t know how I see this unfolding. There would be a part of Cockers I imagine that wants to be Robert the Bruce, so be from England, England ’til he dies and then all of a sudden he is Scottish. He came on here and he was saying ‘we’ as in the Scotland team, not as little we but ‘we’ as in Scotland we. Maybe it’s no longer ‘we’. There is talk of him talking to Gloucester.
“I’m sure after the chat around Gloucester and the culture around them they would probably be a bit reluctant to maybe look within because of some of the issues they have got. Cockers will sort that place out for sure, but I don’t want to see it.
“He has done the Prem, he is killing it in the PRO14 with Edinburgh, the next evolution for him is international. If it’s not England, the ‘we’ for Cockers is Scotland.”
Chart-topping show co-host Andy Goode, who also knows Cockerill from his Leicester days, added about the Gloucester speculation: “He has been clever, hasn’t he? Didn’t he do an interview a few weeks ago where he said he was bang in the middle of his contract at Edinburgh and was looking to extend it?
“Basically when you decipher those words, change them around a little bit, mix it up, what he means is ‘Gloucester, come and get me, pay me half a million quid if you have got it and I will be your director of rugby, head coach, whatever you want me to be’.
“The dynamic around Gloucester is interesting at the minute… behind closed doors is going to be very different from what they put out in the press. From what I hear, Lance Bradley wants Rory Teague to get promoted with the pandemic going on to save money.
“If they get Cockers they are going to have to buy him out of his contract, aren’t they? What is that going to cost? £300,000, £400,000, who knows. It is going to be a chunky sum to get him out of his contract. And then there is other people in the mix, other coaches that are being mentioned.”
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