With the Northampton game being the last of this block of fixtures in the Premiership Rugby Cup Gloucester look ahead to the Gallagher Premiership once again with Johan Ackermann chasing momentum into the Leicester game. Robert Rees has the latest news from the Gloucester camp.
Youthful involvement pleasing for future talent
Despite taking a back seat for the first two games and letting Head of academy Richard Whiffin take over, Johan Ackermann has been pleased with what he has seen from the younger members of the squad. ”The young boys played really well against Wasps, I went down and watched the game on the weekend and we let ourselves down with discipline and ball control. For the first 40 minutes we couldn’t hold on to the ball, but it was a good opportunity for a lot of players to get game time. Seeing young players testing themselves and getting more experience. It was a good two weeks.
With the Gallagher Premiership looming and Ackermann chasing momentum there is the temptation to bring in a load of experienced players for Friday’s clash with Northampton. Ackermann saying, ”We’ll look at a lot of guys minutes, but we want to start integrating a lot of players who didn’t play the last two weeks, purely because if we don’t against Leicester a few players will be without rugby for around a month. We also want to start the momentum going.
We’ll plan for a quality Northampton side. They have all over talent and we’ll prepare like any other game. They’ll be hungry to win and we have to match that.”
Mirroring the thoughts of Whiffin, Johan Ackermann has also praised the Premiership Rugby Cup for it’s worth saying ”The last two weeks we played a lot of youngsters. I can’t sit here and say it’s as high quality as the Premiership. We do see it as a development competition, but we’re responsible for the supporters that watch the matches and travel to games. If you put on a Gloucester shirt then you have to play with pride. It’s an opportunity for players waiting for game time to show us what they can do and they can sometimes play themselves into contention. You can’t play your best side week in and week out in all competitions.
Ackermann chasing momentum as Premiership returns
Looking ahead Johan Ackermann sees the Northampton game as a springboard for the following week’s Premiership tie. Taking momentum through with a win could be crucial to getting up to speed once again. ”You don’t want to discount yourself if you don’t win and I don’t want to sound like the result isn’t important to us, but you have to reset the standards we had and pick it up a notch.
We’ve got a responsibility every time we put the jersey on and it can create momentum. If you start way below your standards then suddenly you’re going to have concerns. We can set the platform from the last game we played against Munster and we can now set the bar again.
Home games a platform, but not the end game
Despite losing to Bristol Gloucester are still firmly taking the Premiership Rugby Cup and this season one step at a time. Looking ahead Ackermann said ”For us, the next block starts with Northampton and then we have Leicester and then play Exeter three times in four weeks. There’s a lot of rugby and we wont target specific games. We have a team to prepare for and we’ll just focus on that team and take the next game by the horns and when we return to this competition we’ll see where we sit and what we need to do.
It’s not like we disregard any competition, but it’s something we’ll address come the time.”
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