It is now official Johan Aclermann has confirm that is leaving the Lions after the Super Rugby this year to join Gloucester.
Ackermann have been linked to the English club for weeks now and it was confirm on a special media release this morning that Ackermann has excepted a three year deal with the club.
This means that he will leave the union after the Super Rugby competition and the new head coach will be announced in time. Ackermann took the last few weeks to consider the offer.
The Lions tried their best to keep Ackermann but he at the end decided that it is the best for his career to make the move. He will replace former coach Fischer at the club and it is believed that now assistant coach Swys de Bruin will be the likely person to take over from Ackermann.
“I would be disappointed if anyone doubted by integrity and commitment to the Lions [until the end of the season],” he commented at a press conference at Ellis Park. “It was quite an emotional time to tell the players this morning. They are more than just players to me, I owe it to them and to the union to be 100% committed until the end of the season.”
“My journey elsewhere will only start once the job is done here, “he added.
Johan’ Ackermann was born June 3, 1970, he played lock in his playing days.
Ackerman is known for his physical approach to the game. In 2007, Ackermann became the oldest Springbok to play for the national side, at the age of 37. After the 2007 World Cup in France, he was recalled to the Springbok squad to play against the Barbarians. This was his last outing as an international player.
Ackermann bowed out of professional rugby on a winning note on 1 March 2008, when the Sharks defeated the Bulls 29-15 at Loftus Versfeld. He became the oldest player ever in Super Rugby history at age 37 years, 272 days.
In 1997, Ackermann was banned for two years for use of the prohibited substance nandrolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid.
Ackermann originally was the Forwards coach of the Lions in Super Rugby under head coach, John Mitchel but after Mitchel left the Union he took over. He has seen huge success as coach of the Union including winning the SARU Coach of the Year award in 2014, his first year as head coach.
He build the Lions team over the last couple of years as the best side in South Africa in Super Rugby and Currie Cup and his side reached the Super Rugby final last year.