Johan Ackermann pleased with win, praises future role for Ollie Thorley

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Johan Ackermann pleased with win, praises future role for Ollie Thorley
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: James Hanson of Gloucester dives over to scrore the first try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors at Kingsholm Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Gloucester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Johan Ackermann spoke to media after the latest Gallagher Premiership result. The Cherry and Whites confirmed a 36-16 victory over the Worcester Warriors, that left Ackermann pleased with win; though he also described a dislike for red cards while praising star Ollie Thorley’s performance in scoring two tries.

Robert Rees looks at the result in context, with a view on the coaches thoughts on the outcome, referee rulings, and player’s input, leaving Ackermann pleased with win – but still aware of the rest of the 2018/19 Premiership challenge ahead.

‘Pleasing’ win, but being relentless was the message

Reflecting on the bonus point win that saw Gloucester return to third place in the Gallagher Premiership, Johan Ackermann told media post match, ”It’s pleasing that we’ve got the win but it’s extra pleasing to get the bonus point.

“We started well and put them under lots of pressure scoring two tries. Then we still had some good line breaks but we became sloppy and gave away silly penalties that brought them back into the game. Going into halftime we couldn’t believe we were only leading by a point.

“That’s the reality of the game. If you drop off and make mistakes then teams are good enough to punish you.”

With only a single point separating the sides at halftime – despite over 60% possession and territory for the hosts – the message from the coaches was to be relentless and start quickly.

Ackermann explained that ”at halftime the boys took in the message that we had to be accurate in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half. Then we got the scoreboard running with some good tries, stuff that the players have worked on in the week.

“We had the game wrapped up and then made mistakes and lost a lineout ball or two and that’s where we have to show more maturity and almost finish games off better,” said Ackermann.

Fans will be pleased with how accurate the team performed. Ackermann telling Last Word on Rugby, “just after last week where we missed a lot of opportunities, we were far more accurate tonight and credit to the players for turning it around. Worcester are not an easy team and they are well coached and push teams all the way.” He added.

Ollie Thorley’s form a tribute to his dedication and Heart

Ollie Thorley has started to find some good form of late bagging a duo of tries against both Leicester and Worcester. Discussing his good run of form, Johan Ackermann said, ”I’m just pleased for Ollie.

“He’s had his setbacks, but he’s in great form. He’s a great team man, always willing to work hard off the field. The reality is he’s always willing to listen and to be coached and to take advice.

“Credit to him and he shows a lot of heart you can’t coach.”

English rugby is building a strong pool of wingers who can score tries, defend astutely and run powerfully. Ollie Thorley is just the latest individual to be included on that list, and Ackermann said of his player, ”It’s great for England rugby that there’s another winger on the rise that deepens the talent pool.

“The thing that makes Ollie good is his willingness to put in the extra work, to learn and be coachable. His attitude is right. The way he trains is the way he plays so there are no half measures.”

Franco Mostert/Jaco Visagie finally wear Cherry and White

World Rugby acted quickly, following his arrival in the UK and to that end, Franco Mostert came off the bench on Saturday, to make his Gloucester debut.

Ackermann discussed the South African players inclusion when he said, ”It was good to see Franco [playing] and hopefully the supporters will get to see the best of him. We felt the team was going well and the same with Jake [Polledri].

“We wanted to prolong their game as long as possible. Jaco [Kriel] had a niggle so Polledri had to go on. We just wanted him to have a taste to experience a little bit of the Shed so it’s not new when he gets the opportunity to play in the future.”

New signing Jaco Visagie took what seemed a matter of seconds to score on his home debut off the bench. Driving over alongside fellow ‘impact substitute’ Val Rapava Ruskin, it was impressive to see the Glaws bench have such an impact.

Ackermann added, ”Credit for him and to Val. They went on and brought a lot of energy in that moment when we needed it, and scored his try. It was crucial at that stage to create that buffer. This is a squad effort and the fact our bench came on and contributed shows you the importance of it being a whole team effort.”

The Last Word from Johan Ackermann – ”I don’t like red cards”

Looking back at the yellow card to fullback Chris Pennell, the Gloucester head coach was quick to dismiss his want for red. Saying, “the reality of the game is players safety comes first. I don’t like red cards because they take away the contest of the game but I know there have been games where similar incidents to that would have been red cards.

“If they [Premiership authorities] need to follow it up after the game, they can.

“I felt a yellow card was fair, but it’s up to the officials to make that call.”

“It’s a lesson for players to be careful. A red card for me must be a blatant thing like a fist or kick”. And the result was not hugely affected by the referees call. What any viewer wishes for is consistency – from the officials and players – and Saturday’s result by Gloucester left Ackermann pleased with win, and pleased by Ollie Thorley’s contribution.

Continue winning, and the focused head coach may become delighted, as his team cement a place in the top four of this years’ competition.

 

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