Gloucester Rugby head coach Johan Ackermann rules out signing out-of-contract England international

Gloucester have pulled out of the running to sign England flanker James Haskell – with coach Johann Ackermann instead planning to tap into the South African market.

The England back-rower is out of contract with Wasps this summer and has been heavily linked with the Cherry and Whites while Bristol, Northampton and Worcester are also said to be in the running.

‘We’re fine at loose forward department so we won’t be taking on James,’ said the Gloucester boss, who will lose Lions flanker Ross Moriarty to Dragons at the end of the season.

As a former Springbok, Ackermann has close connections in South Africa.

The club are understood to be monitoring 18-cap lock Franco Mostert, who is not yet free to enter negotiations with overseas clubs.

‘We can’t speak to those players at South African clubs until 90 days before the end of Super Rugby, which is around the end of the month,’ said Ackermann.

‘Every name is put on our desk by the agents. Even Brad Shields’ name was put on our desk. We will wait until the right time to speak before we make decisions.’

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