Ahead of Gloucester Rugby’s Round 20 fixture against London Irish, Ruan Ackermann spoke to the media to talk about recent performances, the return of fans and the last three games of the season.
On recent results
“If you take the last few weeks, from Newcastle, in that second half, the way we played and the way we came back and the tries we scored and if you take the Northampton Saints game, I think that was a full 80 minute performance. The Bristol game, we were really up for it, some circumstances with the red and yellow cards didn’t help but in the first half, the character that the boys showed, and in the second half when we were down to 14 men, I think it just shows the character that’s in the team and the way we go forward and the way we want to play.
“For these next three weeks, we’ve got a base line now and we just want to go up from there. The way we play, the way we defend the way we approach the game, we just want to be a tight group going forward. It’s been a tough season, it’s been a tough year. Some results didn’t go our way but one thing you can’t fault is this team’s character.
“Now, it’s just more about scoring tries and getting points. These three games are a good opportunity for us before we go into the offseason.”
On the return of fans
“Even though it was an away game, it was just amazing. Going out for the warm up and hearing people speaking and screaming and running out and you hear people screaming again and clapping hands. We’ve had so many games playing in an empty stadium and just hearing that again was such a humbling experience.
“The last thing you focus on going into a big game like that is the supporters and then you see them and you realise how much you missed them. For me, it was really nice to have them and that’s what makes this week so exciting for us to have them back at Kingsholm.
On the added pressure of fans in stadiums
“It was very difficult to get used to playing in an empty stadium and only hearing the other players when you’re on the field. Loads of boys this year made their debut and would have experienced fans for the first time in the Bristol game. For me personally, I thrive on having fans there and having people there because that’s what makes rugby and sport in general so amazing.”