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Premiership bosses as players: What was your boss like on the pitch before he took his place as chief?

Rugby bosses are so prominent in coverage of the Aviva Premiership that it’s often hard to imagine them in another role. 

They seem to have been born into suits or tracksuits, but it is rare to find someone in charge of a top-flight club who did not have a playing career of some sort, apart from Worcester’s Gary Gold.

Sometimes those careers were short, sometimes they were long and fruitful. RUCK.co.uk has taken a look at current Premiership chiefs to see how their time on the pitch panned out.


Bath – Todd Blackadder – lock

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He played for the All Blacks 25 times, including 14 as captain. He also played for the Crusaders at lock.


Exeter Chiefs – Rob Baxter – lock 

Photo. Richatd Lane.
Bristol Shoguns v Exeter Chiefs. England National Division One. 27/03/2005.
Referee, Tim Beddow talks to Exeter captain, Rob Baxter.

As a player Baxter played for Exeter for 14 years and served as the club’s captain for 10 years


Gloucester Rugby – Johan Ackermann – lock

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Ackerman is known for his physical approach to the game. In 2007, he became the oldest Springbok to play for the national side, at the age of 37 when he was recalled to the Springbok squad to play against the Barbarians in 2007.

The second-row bowed out of professional rugby on a winning note on 1 March 2008, when the Sharks defeated the Bulls 29-15 at Loftus Versfeld. He became the oldest player ever in Super Rugby history at age 37 years, 272 days.

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