Ackermann confirmed yesterday that he will leave the Lions at the end of the current campaign to take up a three-year contract with English club Gloucester.
“Obviously there are contracts currently in place in SA Rugby and decisions that have been made,” said Ackermann, who is due to coach the SA A side in June.
Ackermann, who lifted the Lions off the floor when they were kicked out of Super Rugby in 2013, has surprisingly been overlooked as Bok coach despite being voted SA Coach-of-the-Year three years in a row. “If that’s my end goal (Bok coach) where I must land up one day then that door will open,” he said.
“I played a lot of Super Rugby, coached seven years, three as assistant and four as a head coach. I think the time is right to test myself in different environments.
“SA Rugby has the right to choose who they want, if it’s not me now then maybe one day. But I couldn’t wait any longer at this time as I had to come to a decision,” he said.
Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli said they haven’t discussed a successor for Ackermann yet but Lions assistant coach Swys de Bruin is seen as one of the frontrunners.
“We focus on Super Rugby now,” said Straeuli. “We’ll consult all stakeholders before we announce the next coach.
“We are fortunate that Johan has also left us with some coaches with experience. We will look within first and will then focus on Currie Cup rugby and will make an announcement in due course,” he said.