Super Rugby

Gloucester implosion to see Ruan Dreyer return to Lions?

Ruan Dreyer (Gallo Images)
Ruan Dreyer (Gallo Images)
  • Johan Ackermann's departure at English club Gloucester could see the return of former Lions prop Ruan Dreyer to Ellis Park.
  • The Lions aren't overly keen to sign a new tighthead but uncertainty regarding the future of Jannie du Plessis could prompt them to bring back Dreyer.
  • Dreyer could be the third Springbok to leave Gloucester, after Jaco Kriel rejoined the Lions and Franco Mostert is reportedly joining Japan's Honda Heat.

The simmering fallout from Johan Ackermann's departure from Gloucester could help the Lions bring back a former favourite.

According to a report by specialist publication The Rugby Paper, Ruan Dreyer is the latest member of the English club's substantial South African contingent that wants to leave and is seriously considering a return to Johannesburg.

Ackermann, who notably recruited Dreyer, son Ruan and Jaco Kriel from Ellis Park when he commenced his duties in mid-2017, was confirmed as Japanese franchise NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes' new head coach two weeks ago.

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Since then, sporadic details have emerged of power struggles behind the scenes allegedly prompting the former Lions head coach's resignation.

The 29-year-old tighthead Dreyer started four Tests for the Springboks under Allister Coetzee in 2017 after a fine Super Rugby campaign, notably delivering a fine performance against the Wallabies in a drawn Rugby Championship clash in Bloemfontein.

Sport24 understands that the No 3 position isn't currently one of the Lions' top priorities for strengthening, with the hierarchy instead focusing on the midfield - where Bulls stalwart Burger Odendaal is being courted - and blindside flank following the release of Cyle Brink earlier this year.

Rudolf Straeuli, the Lions chief executive, is also a firm proponent of local rugby's transfer regulations and so far hasn't officially elaborated on targets for the franchise.

However, the status of 37-year-old Jannie du Plessis' arrangement with the Lions remains uncertain following the suspension of this season's Super Rugby campaign, meaning the franchise could be on the lookout again for an experienced partner for the highly promising Carlu Sadie.

Dreyer would be the third Bok to leave the Kingsholm Stadium, after Jaco Kriel linked up with Ivan 'Cash' van Rooyen's charges in February and Franco Mostert is reportedly joining Japan's Honda Heat.

Ruan Ackermann, arguably the most prominent local player at Gloucester in terms of the attention he's currently getting, though indicated that he wants to stay in England to keep his options of qualifying for the Roses open.   

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

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