Heinz makes return as Ackermann spells out lengthy Gloucester injury report

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Johan Ackermann
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Johan Ackermann, Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby looks on prior to the Heineken Champions Cup match between Gloucester Rugby and Castres Olympique at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Gloucester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Club captain Willi Heinz is set to make a return at the weekend as Johan Ackermann gives a comprehensive overview of a Gloucester injury report. Gloucester face Northampton this Friday in the final game of the first block in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Gloucester injury report

Johan Ackermann has given his Gloucester injury report ahead of Northampton Saints at home this Friday. Scrum half Ben Vellacott picked up a knock against Bristol last week, but he shouldn’t be out for long. ”It’s not too bad for Ben, I haven’t got the final results yet, but he’s walking around and there’s no brace or crutches. It doesn’t look too serious.”

Cherry and Whites fans will be hoping it’s nothing too serious with Willi Heinz only just coming back into the squad for this week’s game. A fit Vellacott to back up Callum Braley and Heinz is what the club needs right now. Especially if they’re going to challenge for top four in the Premiership and get out of a tough group in Europe.

Also picking up a stinger against Bristol was Welsh fly half Owen Williams. Despite being inactive at training this week Ackermann is confident he can pull through in the short term. ”He’s had a sore neck and shoulder the day after and struggled physically as well. He hasn’t been fully pain free so we’ll give him maximum time. So we’ll give him till Thursday to pass some tests and see if he can play, but it’s not like he’s damaged anything that’ll keep him off the field for months.”

He’ll be hoping to get back to action as soon as possible with game time since his arrival from Leicester becoming very limited. A move away from the club and to wales where he could pursue an international career seems unlikely until his contract runs out.

Kriel back in action

Having played his first 20 minutes in a Gloucester shirt Jaco Kriel has missed training this week. Not through injury, but through a flu bug. Blame it on the English winter! ”He’s got through it, he knows it’s a long road. The real test will be when he gets more game time. When I spoke to him he’s not at the fitness level he wants to be, but that will come with time. He’s excited and unfortunately picked up a flu bug and couldn’t train today.”

Half back news, the good and the bad

Despite not training this week he has been named as a starting flanker against Northampton with his flu bug not having a major impact upon his ability.

Lloyd Evans is still struggling with an injury sustained against Wasps in the first round of the Prem Rugby Cup, but club captain Willi Heinz is set for his comeback. ”Lloyd won’t be available. He’s struggling with a shoulder injury he picked up against Wasps.

Willi is cleared and so will probably return on the weekend. We want him to enjoy the rugby now. He’s always been involved in our meetings and shared a lot from what he observes and he’s still the leader, but for this coming week we’ll manage him. He won’t play the full 80 minutes.”

Other than Willi Heinz no one else is expected to return this week.

England injuries blight Gloucester

Elsewhere Ben Morgan has picked up an injury at England camp, but won’t be coming back to Gloucester for the week with Ackermann saying ”He picked up a shoulder injury last week at camp and he’s not cleared medically to play this week. So he can’t even play for us, he’s just with the medical team getting treatment on his shoulder.”

This won’t just be a worry for England fans, but also Gloucester fans. Going forward they want their main man to be in that number eight jersey and an injury sustained in the Red Rose colours isn’t the way they’d want to have lost him.

Long term injury woes adding to Gloucester injury report

Tom Marshall and Franco Marais both picked up injuries during the Munster game and have since undergone surgery, with Ackermann adding ”They’ll be out for quite a while. Tom, I think longer than Franco. Franco will probably be out for 10-12 weeks following a shoulder operation on Friday. Tom Marshall had an operation on his hamstring last week so he’ll also be out for three months.”

The final long term injury worry is back row Lewis Ludlow. Having picked up a suspension against Wasps it appeared it wasn’t the only thing he had picked up. ”Lewis is also going to be out for eight weeks as he picked up a wrist injury in the Wasps game (Gallagher Premiership) and didn’t take note of it and it kept on aching and being sore. When we trained last week he banged it and it got worse, they scanned it and it’s fractured.

Having so many long term injuries is rare. For it to happen at one club and all at the same time is pretty remarkable, but not a stat they’d want. Depth has been stretched and the academy plundered of it’s treasure.

Gloucester will want no more major injuries this season as they wish for their injury list to shorten and get those key players back.

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