Ackermann 'victim' opens up on nightclub brawl

Harry Allen
Harry Allen

Cape Town - Harry Allen, the 24-year-old man who claims to have been assaulted by Johan and Ruan Ackermann on Sunday, has given his version of events on what happened that night. 

The Ackermanns and other members of the Gloucester side were reportedly out celebrating their 69-12 European Challenge Cup win over Zebre. 

A personal trainer by trade, Allen says that he was at his house in Cheltenham, England with friends when, just after midnight, they decided to go out to a local watering hole called Club 21.

According to Allen, there were about 50 people present in what he described as a "basement bar" when he and his friends got there. 

Allen says his 25-year-old friend Chris Baker, clad in his Christmas jumper, headed off to the bar to get a round of drinks. 

According to Allen, Baker was 'body-checked' by Johan Ackermann (47), who is the coach of English club Gloucester, while trying to get to the bar. 

"My friend Chris is about 6-ft-3 or 6-ft-4, a big guy but a gentle giant," Allen told Sport24 over the phone on Monday.

"He buys himself Lego and Pokemon cards ... he's harmless. He tried to walk to the bar and Johan kept body-checking him and barging him out of the way.

"They (Johan and his son Ruan Ackermann) had their drink so they weren't waiting at the bar, they were just standing there."

Allen, who says he had "no idea" who Johan and Ruan were, claims that a stand-off between Johan Ackermann and Baker then ensued, and that Ackermann "pushed and grabbed" Baker. 

At that point, Allen says he decided to get involved.

"I'm a lot shorter than the pair of them ... I'm 5-ft-11," he said.

"I stepped in between them and tried to calm it down and I was punched. My jumper was pulled over my head and I just felt constant knocks and bumps to the back of my head."

Allen guesses that he was hit at least 12 times and he believes that it was former Lions loose forward Ruan Ackermann (21) who threw the first punch at him, though he can't be sure. 

Security, Allen continues, then got involved and separated the brawl on the floor. 

"I didn't throw a punch," he added.

"I was just being pummelled."

Allen says he was dripping in blood when he was removed from the venue by security. The police then arrived, and Allen was made to give his details and version of events to them. 

He says that both Ruan and Johan were also made to give their details to police but that nobody was arrested. 

"They (the police) want to see the CCTV footage and get the witness statements first," Allen said, adding that he had about 15 witnesses who saw the fight take place.

Allen says that he suffered a number of cuts and wounds on his face and that he visited the hospital on Sunday because he was in pain and worried about bleeding on the brain. 

"I have got a pretty severe concussion," he said. 

Allen claims that, following the incident, there had been no effort from either Ruan or Johan to apologise. 

"I'll be honest with you, Ruan was an arrogant little prick afterwards," he said, adding that he had seen the Ackermanns drinking alcohol. 

"I will be pressing charges."

English police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident while Gloucester have also said they are aware of the accusations and conducting their own investigation. 

Sport24 has tried to contact Ruan Ackermann as well as management of Club 21. 

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