Mix and match pol­icy for Ack­er­mann ahead of Pre­mier­ship start

Gloucestershire Echo - - DEACS' WEEK -

JO­HAN Ack­er­mann says Glouces­ter will ‘mix and match’ in the next four weeks dur­ing the Pre­mier­ship Cup cam­paign.

A very young side lost the open­ing game 49-29 to Lon­don Ir­ish last week­end, and Glouces­ter face a West Coun­try derby at Bris­tol on Fri­day night.

Re­gard­ing se­lec­tion pol­icy for the up­com­ing games, Ack­er­mann said: “This com­ing week we are go­ing to make some more changes and give some of the older play­ers a run out as we get closer to the Pre­mier­ship start.

“I think that all the teams will be strong be­cause they will play around with their squads.

“The chal­leng­ing thing is that it is still a few weeks to go un­til the Pre­mier­ship kicks off and some play­ers have to play 80 min­utes of rugby be­cause it isn’t a ro­ta­tional squad and it isn’t a friendly game so you have to get the bal­ance right of hav­ing the play­ers re­ally fit.

“Now the pres­sure is re­ally on if you play a 30-man squad and you can have that rhythm but now you have your 15 guys and they have to have that rhythm for 80 min­utes.

“It is bril­liant to go and play a side that we know is play­ing a great style of rugby, who beat us last year so it is a great chal­lenge for us.

“There are some play­ers that there is a long while since they haven’t played and they are look­ing for­ward to get­ting some con­tact and game time un­der their belt be­cause you can train as much as you want to by pro­tect­ing the play­ers and sim­u­lat­ing the game but you don’t al­ways get that as the real way you play and that is what we are look­ing for­ward to.”

On the sub­ject of the young play­ers given their chance, Ack­er­mann added: “We have those play­ers that are learn­ing at the high­est level and then we have those young play­ers who a few months ago were still at school and now they have a quick learn­ing curve.

“I think that it is great and I think that it is a fast track for what they need to work and grow on and ex­pe­ri­ence pres­sured sit­u­a­tions in front of a King­sholm crowd but also against ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

“The re­al­ity is that with the depth of the squad from us and play­ers in­jured and play­ers away for the World Cup and you don’t know which play­ers are go­ing put up their hand.”

He con­ceded that some, in­clud­ing scrum-half Char­lie Chap­man and back row Aaron Hink­ley have an op­por­tu­nity to stake a claim.

“Aaron has shown what he can do and he has been in good form for the Eng­land U20’s and I am happy that he has taken that for­ward,” said Ack­er­mann.

“I want him to put pres­sure on the se­nior guys. For me, age is ir­rel­e­vant. If a guy is 34 and is the best, then I will pick him but if he’s 18, 19 and the best and do­ing the job then I will pick him.

“So, these play­ers have a shot if they play well and put the pres­sure on, it is im­por­tant to know that your depth is there and they are do­ing it.

Even Lloyd (Evans), he is do­ing well and putting pres­sure on Danny (Cipri­ani).”

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