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RJvR relishing Cherry and Whites challenge

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Rohan Janse van Rensburg says he can’t wait for Saturday’s Premiership trip to Gloucester where he will renew acquaintances with Johan and Ruan Ackermann.

Johan Ackermann enjoyed a hugely successful spell as coach of Super Rugby side the Lions, leading the South African side to the Super Rugby final in both 2016 and 2017.

Rohan was a key part of that side, along with Sale team-mate Faf de Klerk and Johan Ackermann’s son Ruan – a powerhouse number eight – who joined his father in making the switch to join the Cherry and Whites last summer.

And the Sharks’ inside centre says he is hugely looking forward to the reunion and what he believes will be a special occasion at a sold-out Kingsholm.

“With coach Ackermann and Ruan playing there it’s going to be very exciting to play against him,” he said. “The last time we played against each other was back at school in South Africa so it’s going to be interesting to see how we go on.

“We’ve been in contact while I’ve been over here in Manchester but we haven’t spoken about the game. They actually invited me over for Christmas but I had already made arrangements to join Josh Strauss.

“Me and Faf played under coach Ackermann for four years so it’s going to be exciting to see them again and to get to play against Ruan.

“Coach Ackermann has done a very good job at Gloucester and one of their few setbacks was when they lost 57-10 here at Sale in the autumn.

“So we have to keep that in mind and we know that they will come hard at us.

“I’m also really excited about playing at Kingsholm as I’ve heard it’s a very prestigious place to play.

“When I first got here, Dimes (Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond) told me it was a great place to go and play. He said it was always packed there and that it’s quite loud and I quite enjoy that and I am looking forward to it.”

Rohan, who is in the middle of a three-month loan spell from the Lions, enjoyed arguably his best game yet in a Sale shirt last weekend, as the Sharks secured an impressive 32-9 win over Bath.

Now, he says the Sale players want to maintain the approach that yielded such positive dividends against Bath.

“We all just enjoyed what we were doing and it felt like we were playing with no fear. Everyone wanted to try something and it worked out,” Rohan reflected.

“That’s what I admire about all the guys here at Sale – you have to play what’s in front of you and I could see the guys wanted to do that against Bath.

“As a squad, we said that we want to play what’s in front of us and if there is an opportunity we need to take it and you could see that the guys really wanted to carry the ball and break the gain lines and go forward.

“Now we have to take that energy into the Gloucester game as we know they play a very high-paced game. We are going to have to counter that with a high-press game of our own.”

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