Mix and match policy for Ackermann ahead of Premiership start
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).”