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Ruan Ackermann: England's World Cup wildcard

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Gloucester head coach George Skivington has suggested that Ruan Ackermann could still potentially be a World Cup wildcard for England despite talks of a long injury lay-off.

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The South African-born Ackermann will soon undergo knee surgery to fix the damage sustained by the recent clearout that earned La Rochelle prop Georges-Henri Colombe a four-game ban.

The Gloucester boss confirmed that the name of the uncapped Ackermann is very much in the England mix following the conversation he had with Test head coach Steve Borthwick.

Skivington and Borthwick’s chat happened just days after the loose forward was hurt in his team’s agonising 26-29 Champions Cup round-of-16 loss in France on April 1.

Ackermann now faces a period out of the game once he undergoes the surgery.

However, Skivington claimed the damage isn’t as bad as an ACL injury – although the full extent of the injury won’t be known until the surgeon has examined it in detail.

Ackermann will have to wait for the swelling to fully recede before he can have the operation.

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Skivington, whose Gloucester side take on Bath on Friday in the latest round of Premiership fixtures, said: “Ironically, on the Monday after La Rochelle, I had a long talk with Steve Borthwick about Ruan.

“He is in the England conversation and his form and work he has put in is the reason for that.

“Ruan does need surgery, but the scans showed it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the knee has to settle down. It was that 150kg guy rolling through his knee – and that would have finished most of us off.

“We won’t see him again this season, but we have our fingers crossed that the recovery won’t be a long slog like we have had with numerous other players.

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The scans showed damage but nothing horrific and we don’t want to make plans until they cut open and tell us what is needed to be done. We are relatively positive about it. It isn’t ACL but there are a few areas of damage and hopefully not something like six to nine months.

“He is a tough character but, like all of us, he is pretty devastated about it. This is the first one that while it isn’t malicious, it was sloppy. It has hurt us and also Ruan because he is on the edge of that England fold.”

Skivington also confirmed Scotland No10 Adam Hastings is back in training after his injury lay-off and could play before the end of the season.

 

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