VIDEO: Ackermann stands his ground

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 07:19

PREMIERSHIP REACTION: Johan Ackermann was frustrated as Gloucester's recent strong run ended in Coventry at the weekend, but refused to blame off-field distractions for their 24-49 defeat to Wasps.

Gloucester's five-game winning streak in the Premiership was brought to a shuddering halt in a 10-try Christmas weekend feast.

Gloucester looked well set to continue their recent run of form when they led Wasps 17-15 at half-time at the Ricoh Arena.

However, they were unable to withstand a second-half fightback from the home side.

Ackermann and his son Ruan, who was in Gloucester's side for the Premiership clash, faced allegations of being involved in an incident in a Cheltenham nightclub the previous weekend.

However, the club gave the pair their full backing and made it clear they were not responsible for the fracas.

Asked if it had caused a distraction to the squad, Ackermann said: "No I don't think so because it was dealt with and the guys got on with their job and we had a great week of training.

"At half-time, I think everything was there for the taking and then there were two moments in the game - a line-out where we could've built on our lead and turnover ball close to the try line.

"One can debate, was it legal? I don't know I'm not the referee but that swung the whole momentum so our preparation was good and nothing else was hindering that."

Gloucester scored three first-half tries and although they added one more in the second period to get a bonus point, Wasps ran away with it in the end.

Ackermann said: "We were pleased come half-time with the tries we scored although also under pressure at some stages but the guys fought it out and never panicked so very pleased at half-time.

"Then things went a bit pear-shaped in the second half and one or two momentum swings that suddenly changed the game and then more errors, which compounded it but I can't fault the guys for the effort and commitment they showed out there.

"And Credit to Wasps. One has to credit a side that uses their opportunities and finish it as well as they did."

Ackermann added: "I think it's the next growth of the team to realise that things will go against you.

"It happened against Sale Sharks where we threw three intercept tries and our heads dropped a bit because we had all the play and the momentum and tonight [Saturday night] we were really putting a lot of pressure on Wasps and we lost the ball in the ruck and they went for the short side and then [Thomas] Young scored a 70-metre try and that gave them a lot of belief and momentum.

"Once their bench came on they lifted the tempo but you look at the last few tries we gave away, we chased the game and we threw passes that were maybe not necessary but the guys at least tried and kept going."

The defeat ended Gloucester's five-game winning run in the Premiership and saw them leapfrogged by Wasps but they are still third ahead of Sunday's fixture between Saracens and Leicester.

* Additional reporting by GloucestershireLive


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