Gloucester Rugby head coach and son the subject of police investigation following night club incident
Gloucester are giving head coach Johan Ackermann and his son Ruan their full backing after it was revealed the pair are the subject of a police investigation following a nightclub altercation.
The incident is reported to have taken place in Cheltenham in the early hours of Sunday morning, police said, shortly after Zebre had been defeated 69-12 in a Challenge Cup match at Kingsholm.
Former South Africa international Johan Ackermann and his son, a number eight, joined Gloucester ahead of the 2017-18 season.
The victim's sister has used social media to release details of the alleged assault, including photos of the facial wounds said to have been sustained.
But having conducted their own enquiry into the fracas, Gloucester are confident that the claims made against the Ackermanns are false.
"We takes any allegations extremely seriously and we have conducted a full investigation in to this matter," chief executive Stephen Vaughan said.
"We have spoken to Johan and Ruan, to the club where the alleged incident took place, the police and other independent witnesses as well as viewing subsequent CCTV footage.
"I'm completely satisfied that while an incident did take place, it was instigated by others and not by Johan and Ruan as has been incorrectly reported.
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"Both Johan and Ruan have been upset and disappointed by the allegations, but do appreciate the support from Gloucester fans, players, colleagues, friends and family."
Gloucester, who have risen to second in the Aviva Premiership following a run of five successive victories, have also moved to refute the allegations made on social media by the victim's family and friends.
"We are aware that a small number of individuals are posting comments about the incident which are untrue," a statement read.
"We do not condone violence in any shape or form and having reviewed the evidence, the club stands by the pair unreservedly."
Ackermann is in his first season in charge at Gloucester and following an erratic start to the campaign typical of the club, the South African has transformed them into title challengers.
Following a 57-10 defeat at Sale in late September, they have embarked on a winning run that includes victories over Bath and Saracens.
The form of Ruan, Ackermann's 21-year-old son, has been influential in the move up the table and the number eight was named Premiership player of the month for November.
"Gloucestershire Constabulary is investigating a report of an incident which happened at the 21 Club in Regent Street, Cheltenham in the early hours of Sunday morning, 17 December," a police statement said.
"The allegation is that there was an altercation between two groups of men during which one of man sustained facial injuries.
"The incident was reported just before 1.30am. Police officers arrived shortly afterwards but all those involved had left the scene.
"Investigating officers will be examining CCTV footage this week and speaking to witnesses. No-one has been arrested.
"Anyone with information is asked to call Gloucestershire Constabulary on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting incident 51 of 17 December."