Whif­fin tipped for Scar­lets role

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORT -

JO­HAN Ack­er­mann has con­firmed that high­lyrated coach Richard Whif­fin has been ap­proached by the Scar­lets.

Glouces­ter look set to lose their head of academy at the end of the sea­son with Whif­fin the favourite to be­come the new skills coach at the Pro14 gi­ants, but head coach Ack­er­mann said: “I’m aware of that but I don’t want to elab­o­rate on that.

“That’s up to David (Humphreys, di­rec­tor of rugby) and the club to talk about it and make an­nounce­ments if they need to be.”

Whif­fin would be seen as a big loss at Glouces­ter hav­ing made his mark since join­ing in 2016 from Lon­don Ir­ish but the pull of be­ing in­volved at first team level could be too strong.

“Each in­di­vid­ual must de­cide his own fu­ture, where he feels his next growth is,” ad­mit­ted Ack­er­mann. “Op­por­tu­ni­ties only come around so many times and you must de­cide if it’s the right time as a coach just as a player.

“If he stays that would be great, it keeps con­sis­tency, con­ti­nu­ity, but I also un­der­stand peo­ple move on in life.

“That’s part of be­ing a club that you de­velop peo­ple to get bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties in life, just as play­ers get bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties so if it hap­pens than we wish him well but I haven’t sat down with Richard so we’ll see what the fu­ture holds.”

Whif­fin was ap­pointed as academy backs coach when he joined Glouces­ter three years ago but has led the youth de­part­ment since the de­par­ture of Neil Mc­carthy in the sum­mer of 2017 and has helped the Un­der-18s reach backto-back Pre­mier­ship Academy fi­nals.

Ben Vel­la­cott, Freddie Clarke and Tom Hudson are among those to have grad­u­ated to the se­nior squad dur­ing that time with an­other six play­ers sign­ing their first pro­fes­sional con­tracts for next sea­son.

Whif­fin has also been part of the Eng­land Un­der-20s setup this sea­son and is due to head to Ar­gentina with them for the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onships next month.

“It’s so good to see peo­ple get recog­ni­tion,” said Ack­er­mann. “It must have been picked up what he’s done with the boys in our academy, what he’s done at Eng­land Un­der-20s and ob­vi­ously they’ve done their home­work so it’s good for him but I don’t want to get too in­volved in that un­til it’s of­fi­cial so we’ll leave that to David and the club.”

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