Polledri, Ackermann and Rapava Ruskin commit to Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby have confirmed that three of their most talented young forwards have agreed new deals to remain in Cherry and White.
Back-row duo Jake Polledri and Ruan Ackermann have joined loosehead prop Val Rapava Ruskin in putting pen to paper on new deals with the club.
Flanker Polledri joined the Cherry and Whites at the beginning of the 2017-18 season after impressing for Hartpury RFC in their National One-winning campaign.
He has since experienced a rapid rise to the top of the game, winning international honours with Italy, and is one of the most exciting young players in the world game.
Despite his initial first contract with the club running until the end of the 2019-20 season, the club have been quick to secure Polledri’s service well beyond that date and have agreed an extension.
Polledri has made 37 appearances in Cherry and White since his switch from Hartpury RFC and in his first season, he was nominated for the RPA Young Player and Land Rover Discovery of the Season after a breakthrough start to his career.
Joining Jake in agreeing a new deal is South African back-rower Ruan Ackermann, the son of head coach Johan, who agrees a new deal as he looks ahead to his third season in Cherry and White.
Having moved to England shortly before the start of the 2017-18 season, the former Lions flanker has been a key part of the Cherry and White squad over the past two seasons, and his form saw him pick up the Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award in November 2017.
The 23-year old is part of a hugely exciting group of young, dynamic back-rowers at the club, and has made 34 appearances so far in Cherry and White, scoring five tries including a brace in the West Country derby clash against Bath in September.
The third player confirmed to agree a new deal with the club recently is prop Val Rapava Ruskin. The Georgian born forward is a destructive scrummager and offers a huge presence around the park
Loosehead prop Rapava Ruskin is nearing a return to competitive action after missing out since mid-December when he suffered a calf injury ahead of the Champions Cup fixture at Exeter.
The English qualified front rower joined the Cherry and Whites from Worcester Warriors, and has made 21 appearances in his two seasons at the club so far, scoring one try, with his form in a Gloucester Rugby shirt seeing him tipped for international recognition by many observers.
Director of Rugby David Humphreys confirmed the importance of securing the long-term services of players of this calibre.
He said: “I’ve said on several occasions that, for Gloucester Rugby to be successful at the highest level, we have to develop and retain our own talent and I’m delighted to confirm these three contract extensions.
“Jake, Ruan and Val are all talented young players with, hopefully, years of rugby at the highest level in front of them. They are the sort of players that we would like to form the core of our pack for years to come.
“Following the first announcement earlier this year regarding contract renewals, and the academy players who have signed senior contracts, we are delighted with the way that the squad is shaping up for next season.”
Polledri said: “Gloucester Rugby gave me a chance to play at the top level and I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to sign a new deal, and continue to play in Cherry and White. This is a place that I am excited to call my home, and playing in front of Kingsholm gets better on every occasion.
“We’ve got a young, talented squad, with competition in every single position, and I am excited to keep developing, learning and growing in this environment, working with these boys.”
Ackermann said: “I’ve loved my two seasons at Gloucester Rugby so far, and it’s amazing to be agreeing a new deal. The club, it’s supporters and the whole squad have embraced me since I arrived in 2017, and I can’t wait for what is to come for this group.
“We’ve got a settled group, and it’s great to see players pledging their futures to the club, wanting to drive the team forward, and improving in all areas of the squad.”
Rapava Ruskin said: “I have really enjoyed my time in Cherry and White so far, and I’m excited for what is to come. I feel that I have a lot more to give to the jersey and play my part in this exciting squad, and contribute to the memorable days ahead.
“It’s an exciting time to be at the club, and we are all driving in the same direction, and this is where I want to be.”