It is a bit of a long shot anyway that he’d want to be Springbok coach given the perception that it will be a “ceremonial” role but that hasn’t prevented an English media outlet asking Johan Ackermann whether he’d want the job.
In a wide-ranging interview with Gloucestershire Live, the former Lions mentor said he’s never been in contact with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) about replacing Allister Coetzee.
“The reality is my phone hasn’t been phoned so I can’t give you that answer,” said Ackermann.
“It hasn’t been phoned when I’m in South Africa and it hasn’t been phoned while I was in the UK so as long as it stays like that I’ll do my job to the best of my ability.”
Saru director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is expected to temporarily take the Springbok reigns though there are still doubts over his willingness to do a hands-on role.
The former Springbok lock, who guided the Lions to two Super Rugby finals and the 2015 Currie Cup title, had decided to join Gloucester last year to widen his range of expertise.
He also suggested that he took the offer because there weren’t any opportunities yet at national level despite him being appointed South Africa ‘A’ coach.
“Yes, obviously things change quickly in the professional game (following Coetzee’s departure). Again, my focus is at Gloucester, this is where I am now and at the moment it stays like that and therefore I can just control what I can and that is that I know I’m at Gloucester now,” said Ackermann.
His stock has already risen further as Gloucester sit fourth on the English Premiership’s points table.
What is, however, more clear is that Ackermann is hoping to poach two of the Lions’ most influential players for next season.
Prop Ruan Dreyer and centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg had been the subject of rumours linking them to the side and now Ackermann diplomatically confirmed their recruitment has been discussed.
“I think it would be unfair for me to speak about those players and contract situations. Obviously, it is an on-going process between the agents and (director of rugby) David Humphries over what players are available and again there are so many factors that are involved,” said Ackermann.
“A lot of those names did come across our table but also there are certain regulations and stuff. In time we will sit around the table and see who will fit in all those criteria, we have got the salary cap to stay within.”