Rohan itching to run into Ackermann

Rohan Janse van Rensburg is eager to mark his reunion with former Lions mates Johan and Ruan Ackermann with a barnstorming performance against Gloucester.

The robust centre, now with English club Sale, burst onto the Super Rugby scene playing for Johan – and alongside his son, Ruan – at the Lions.

A key component of the Lions side that roared into successive Super Rugby finals in 2016 and 2017, Janse van Rensburg hasn’t faced the Ackermann’s since joining Sale, along with fellow former Lions scrumhalf Faf De Klerk.

The Sale thumper says he is hugely looking forward to the reunion and what he believes will be a special occasion at a sold-out Kingsholm.

“With coach Ackermann and Ruan playing there it’s going to be very exciting to play against him. The last time we played against each other was back at school in South Africa so it’s going to be interesting to see how we go on.

“We’ve been in contact while I’ve been over here in Manchester but we haven’t spoken about the game. They actually invited me over for Christmas but I had already made arrangements to join Josh Strauss.

“Me and Faf played under coach Ackermann for four years so it’s going to be exciting to see them again and to get to play against Ruan.

“Coach Ackermann has done a very good job at Gloucester and one of their few setbacks was when they lost 57-10 here at Sale in the Autumn.

“So we have to keep that in mind and we know that they will come hard at us.

“I’m also really excited about playing at Kingsholm as I’ve heard it’s a very prestigious place to play.

“When I first got here, Dimes told me it was a great place to go and play. He said it was always packed there and that it’s quite loud and I quite enjoy that and I am looking forward to it.”

Rohan, who is in the middle of a three-month loan spell from the Lions, enjoyed arguably his best game yet in a Sale shirt last weekend, as the Sharks secured an impressive 32-9 win over Bath.

Now, he says the Sale players want to maintain the approach that yielded such positive dividends against Bath.

“We all just enjoyed what we were doing and it felt like we were playing with no fear. Everyone wanted to try something and it worked out,” Rohan reflected.

“That’s what I admire about all the guys here at Sale – you have to play what’s in front of you and I could see the guys wanted to do that against Bath.

“As a squad, we said that we want to play what’s in front of us and if there is an opportunity we need to take it and you could see that the guys really wanted to carry the ball and break the gain lines and go forward.

“Now we have to take that energy into the Gloucester game as we know they play a very high-paced game. We are going to have to counter that with a high-press game of our own.”

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer