Johan Ackermann has praised the Kingsholm crowd ahead of their Leicester game on Friday calling them ”The best supporters in the country.” The head coach has issued a rally cry to Gloucester fans to get behind their team in what will be a crunch match.
Intense game ahead as Premiership Rugby returns
With the Premiership Rugby Cup over until the new year Johan Ackermann is looking ahead at an intense game against Leicester, but was pleased with how the development competition helped them over the three weeks saying, ”It was a good experience for some of the younger players who got a lot of game time in that first two weeks. I think it was worthwhile as you could see we weren’t 100% accurate and let ourselves down against Saints.”
Ackermann talked about just how important the Leicester Tigers match will be as both teams look to start climbing the table and push for that top four playoff spot. ”The intensity will be up there, but we have to stay true to our colours and our standards that we want to play. Conditions were tough on Friday to really get into the style we want to play, but hopefully this weekend will allow us to play at the level we want.”
With Gloucester having two home games and one away in the Gallagher Premiership before heading back into the Champions Cup, head coach Ackermann stressed the importance of getting some momentum against the Tigers on Friday night saying, ”It’s good to get off to a good start and if you can win your home games it helps tremendously. We played better against Castres and then we got over the line on Friday and although it wasn’t pretty it showed a lot of character.
We want to make Kingsholm a tough place to come.
Ackermann issues rally cry
With such a big game ahead Johan Ackermann has issued a rally cry to the Kingsholm faithful. ”We need the crowd and we appreciate the crowd. We’ve got the best supporters in the country. We’ll need the crowd in full force on Friday and make it noisy to lift the boys another few percent and make it part of being a tough place. The weather is looking better than last Friday so hopefully it’ll be a good night.”
International period a crucial time for Gloucester
Gloucester feel the benefit of a lack of internationals in the squad due to call-ups in the autumn becoming limited. This allows them to press on and try and take advantage of this over sides who may lose a good handful of players. Looking ahead to the block of fixtures before Christmas Ackermann said. ”Your position can change dramatically and teams can gain form. Injuries will play a big part and your team’s performance. We know the importance of the next few weeks, but we can’t get carried away.
Last season we went into a phase where we gained a lot of points, but then after the January break we let it slip and didn’t go through with it. So this isn’t a defining block as anything can change in the new year. For us to be successful we’ll have to have mental toughness to be there every week and be there until the last round.
We have to focus on the next team, even if the result doesn’t go our way we can’t become despondent. For now we put all our focus on Leicester.”
Players need to be ready to step up
The past week has seen the coaches and players get together to discuss where they want to be this season and what they expect from each other. They’re not quite setting aims, but setting the tone. Ackermann saying ”It’s a time that we get up to the standards we want to train at and can’t just go through motions and train for the sake of training. How much do you grow, learn and how much pride is there in your training defines our approach.
If you are going to limit your mistakes in your training then the chance of limiting them in game is higher. We train with a mindset of being at a high quality then it’ll filter through to the game.
We’ve been very happy with training this season, but of course there are weeks where we weren’t. The players have seen the results. The Harlequins week we were not there, but the Wasps week we trained with high intensity and lots of accuracy. Training at a high intensity will allow you to be switched on and ready to play and do things well. That’s all we ask, is to prepare well and know your role.”
Johan Ackermann will be hoping that the high intensity training mixed in with the best supporters in the country will carry his side home to a big home victory.
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