Eddie’s got it tough – Ackers

Johan Ackermann can relate to the challenges facing England coach Eddie Jones as he prepares to rally a squad for the 2019 Six Nations Championship.

“Eddie must flinch every time the English clubs play because he knows he’s going to get players who have played through tough Premiership games and then another tough European block,” Ackermann told The Daily Mail.

Ackermann ended a five-year term at the Lions to take over as head coach of Gloucester in 2017, and on Friday his charges took a licking from Johan van Graan’s Munster in a Heineken Cup clash at home.

That marked the fourth loss in five matches for the West Country club who are fourth in the Premiership but last in Pool 2 of the Heineken Cup and out of playoff contention. Ackermann said that the narrow margins in the Premiership make rotation a luxury that English coaches can’t afford, while the Irish clubs benefit from central contracting and the cushion of a softer Pro14 competition which includes the likes of the Cheetahs, Kings and Zebre.

“Munster had the luxury to rest players and get players fresh and obviously there are games they can afford to do that in, in their league. You can’t afford to rest players against one team in the Premiership, because you will lose,” he said.

“I think the Premiership is what makes English rugby strong, but it is quite challenging if your squad is limited because of injuries and you go into the quality of the Heineken Cup taking on top sides.”

Jones will nod knowingly. The Six Nations kicks off on 1 February and Jones will inherit Ackermann’s challenge of trying to dethrone well-managed Irish champions with a battle-fatigued squad.

“I don’t know the Irish system much apart from that the Irish Rugby Union is in control of the players and the players’ minutes,” added Ackermann. “In England there’s a big focus on the Premiership and there’s a big focus on being competitive in the Heineken Cup. You need to have your best available team every time. Getting them freshened up is going to be quite a challenge for Eddie, but that’s the system you have got here.”

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Barry

    With respect, that’s not really the case. Arguably the Celtic/SA/Italy clubs play more games, quite simply because there are 14 teams in the Pro14 whilst Premiership has 12.

    In both tournaments there are strong teams and weaker teams – Premiership Exeter and Sarries are head and shoulders above the rest, whilst Leinster and Munster are similarly log leaders in the Pro 14. This carries into the Heineken cup where the two Irish clubs are into the play off’s, whilst Sarries have also qualified and looks like Exeter will go through next round!

    To suggest that the Irish contracting makes a difference is also a stretch, for if that was the case, Ulster wouldn’t be mid log, as they are. The reality is that Irish rugby is in a strong place at the moment, nothing more sinister!

  • Herman Schroder?

    Ackers doing OK in Premiership and could still finish ‘joint’ 3rd in their Championship pool counting Exeter’s scalp along the way. Last season they finished seventh in the Premiership after JA’s late arrival last year. Currently fourth on this highly competitive log where only seven points separate positions 3 to 9. As Ackers said it’s tough on players and the England coach. He will still need some more time to bring his ‘Lions’ game to maturity at a club where expansive rugby was not really a priority in the past. Good luck to him. Cheers.

    • Chris Mouton

      Doing okay? Hahaha! Really? They got their asses handed to them by Munster. With so many Lions on the payroll it should be quite easy to bring the “Lions” game as you put it, not so? Funny thing is, I only saw Mostert on the field and he played flanker. Are the rest of the Lions broken? Personally I don’t what see Ackers is whining about regarding the freshness of players for England. There are so many South Africans playing in the Premiership that the majority of English players could be fresh. Hahaha! Even if they do have a lot of playing time, how is that different than Pro14 or Super Rugby? Quit whining and start winning.

      • Barry

        Agreed Chris, just laying the foundation of excuses for his buddy Mitch, when the Six Nations ends in a mess again for England!

    • John Comyn

      Clearly Ackers is struggling! He has made a few dodgy recruiting calls Just to many Lions! Cheers

    • Barry

      Never say die hey Herman. Reality is that Gloucester are currently getting thumped! Forth loss in a row and frankly have no chance of taking out Exeter, I suspect both Sale and Quinn’s will eclipse them comfortably.

      You chaps alway champion Ackers as the next Bok coach, but the reality is that Johann Van Graan at Munster is unquestionably the most successful SA coach abroad at present!

    • SweetAz

      Losing 4 of your last 5 matches is a 20% win rate,—LOL. And you want to do your nut if Rassie is at 50%? Do you live in the phantom zone where Ackers is doing OK at 20%?
      Its statements like this why nobody can take you seriously with your Lions BS, Ackers is not doing OK,-he is doing pretty kak.
      I thought Ackers was a “meticulous planner”-lol, he gets to choose whoever he wants and he has had about the same amount of time as Rassie (who doesn’t get to choose whoever he wants)…… See where this is going?

      • Redge

        A let’s totally overrated

  • John Comyn

    To be honest I’m not too concerned about Eddie! He’s had his fair share of lucky breaks. He was gifted a win against the Boks and that was when his team were fresh.

    • Barry

      Agreed, Ireland are looking really good and they have a great coach, every bit as smart as Mr Jones!

  • Albert

    England will be a major force in the WC. Eddie Jones is a great coach who won SA the WC in 2007, beat SA with Japan and got England joint world record for consecutive wins. The fact so many people are scoffing at Eddie is quite astounding. And as for Mitch, he is a good coach, has had some good success (ignore the 1 year at Bulls) and of course began the Lions road to SA domination.

    As for Ackers, he too is a great coach, but he is learning some massive lessons now that he is struggling. Probably the best thing for him is to experience this sort of trouble as a club coach than an international one. As the saying goes, you learn from defeat than victory.

    Both Eddie and Ackers will survive and be coaching while us armchair coaches will have nothing of note in our CV’s with regards to rugby. But it is fun discussing our opinions isn’t it?

    • Redge

      Well maybe we don’t need rugby on our CV’s

      • Albert

        :) Perhaps sometimes these things go over peoples heads?

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