Johan Ackermann says he and his son Ruan will have to adapt to life without each other as they have been separated for the first time in their professional careers.
The Ackermanns have consistently worked together as Johan brought Ruan through the youth set-up into the senior team while he was the head coach at the Lions. Ruan then followed his father to Gloucester after Johan accepted the head coach job at the English Premiership side.
However, the two will be separated for the first time in their rugby careers as Johan has decided to leave Gloucester to become the head coach of Japan Top League side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.
While this will present a new challenge for both of them, Johan told Sport24 that it could be an important chance for Ruan to grow under a new coach.
‘A new chapter lies ahead for Ruan,’ Ackermann said. ‘The fact that I’m not there anymore is going to be an adjustment for him, just as much as it’s going to be one for me.
‘It’s part of his development and growth. If Ruan can pick up his form and perform consistently, there can undoubtedly fall something in place for him [in terms of a Test call-up]. Yet one shouldn’t get ahead of oneself. He should just continue to enjoy his rugby and keep on working hard.’
Ackermann added that the 24-year-old loose forward has already shown that he can adapt to new conditions through his move from Johannesburg to the colder climates of England, which tend not to be as conducive to instinctive play.
‘He’s had to adapt his game. The conditions are fundamentally different. It’s not such a big change for Ruan because he really relishes contact and the physicality of English rugby. But the freedom we had at the Lions is rare. It limits instinctive play a bit, you can’t just do what you want. I think he’s dealt with that change really well.’
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