Rugby: Gloucester coach Ackermann quits for Japan's NTT Docomo

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FILE PHOTO: Premiership - Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby
FILE PHOTO: Premiership - Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby

LONDON (Reuters) - Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann has quit after three years to join Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes from July, the English Rugby Premiership club said on Friday.

The 49-year-old former South Africa international enhanced his reputation at Gloucester, guiding them to the European Challenge Cup final in his first season after taking the Lions to successive Super Rugby finals in his homeland in 2016 and 2017.

Last season Gloucester finished third in the Premiership, but the club had lost nine of 13 games this season before the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gloucester were discussing "a new coaching structure for the playing department" in light of Ackermann's departure and the implications arising from COVID-19.

"(We) will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place," the club said in a statement.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; editing by John Stonestreet)