Lions coaching panel in disarray

Forwards coach Johan Ackermann has been officially appointed as the interim head coach of the Lions, with Carlos Spencer continuing his duties as backline mentor.

In the aftermath of John Mitchell’s suspension for his alleged brutal coaching methods, Spencer and Ackermann were last week handed the interim coaching role, a responsibility they would share. Spencer did not dispute this when spoke to him on Monday about the current dynamics at the embattled franchise.

However, it has since come to light that Ackermann has been appointed as the official interim head coach, with Spencer continuing in his role as backline coach.

‘I’m not sure when the decision was made, but I was made aware of [the new coaching structure] late yesterday morning,’ Spencer told on Tuesday. ‘I was only ever under the impression that I would continue to coach the backs.’

Should Mitchell get his marching orders, this could affect Spencer as well as fitness coach Wayne Taylor on a contractual basis. Spencer and Taylor’s contracts are linked to Mitchell’s contract, allowing them to leave the Gauteng franchise at will if Mitchell gets the axe.

‘I haven’t really thought about that to be honest,’ Spencer added. ‘I’m contracted to the end of the Super Rugby season. I guess I’m going to have to make some decisions over the next three weeks.’

If Mitchell and his coaching team are not retained, this would result in the GLRU having to scramble for a new coaching set-up before the Currie Cup, which starts on 11 August.

By Nick Pawson