Former Lions man wins England award
"Every team needs a Ruan"
Former Lions looseforward Ruan Ackermann has been named as England’s Aviva Premiership player of the month for November.
Playing for Gloucester‚ which is coached by Ruan’s father Johan‚ Ackermann will certainly be on England coach Eddie Jones’s radar as a possible national player by 2020.
Ackermann‚ 21‚ is uncapped by the Springboks and never played for the Junior Springboks — SA’s designated second team — which clears his path to play Test rugby for another nation.
Gloucester are currently fourth in the standings‚ due in no small part to Ackermann’s bruising play.
Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Will Greenwood is in the perfect position to assess Ackermann’s qualities having coached him while he played for the Barbarians against the All Blacks.
"Every team needs a Ruan‚" said Greenwood, who believes Ackermann has made a huge impact at Gloucester.
"The guy is a total team player‚ with an immense work ethic, awareness of space and he will always make the important tackles," he said.
"I found Ruan epically fit‚ a player who is in unbelievable shape. He is so dynamic‚ tough physically and mentally."
Ackermann said in November he would consider playing for England if the opportunity arose. "I’m still young, so I can always go back to SA‚" he told KweseESPN when asked about his international future.
"But I can give myself a fair shot here and you never know. Hopefully, it goes well and you can create yourself an option of playing for England as well.
"If the England door opens up‚ I mean‚ I’m still young and England is a proud nation‚ so why not?"
A panel of experts judged Ackermann as the player who made the biggest impact in the Premiership league over the month of November.
He was involved in a four-way battle for the gong‚ eventually beating the Worcester Warriors pair Josh Adams and Francois Hougaard and Olly Woodburn of Exeter Chiefs to the title.