England: Johan Ackermann backs Jason Woodward for South Africa tour

Former New Zealand Under-20 fullback Jason Woodward has been in fine form for Gloucester this season. David Rogers/Getty Images

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann believes Cherry and Whites fullback Jason Woodward is "ready" to make the step up to international rugby with England.

Woodward, 27, joined Gloucester from Bristol last summer and has impressed in his first season at Kingsholm, prompting calls for his inclusion on next month's tour of South Africa.

The former New Zealand Under-20 international qualifies for England through his grandmother and has scored two tries in his last four club appearances.

"I do believe that Jason is ready, there is no doubt," Ackermann said. "He has the capability of lifting himself to that level. Even though he has not played [Test rugby], if there is a clear role for him, with the way he can play, then he definitely has the ability to play at Test level.

"He has the speed and the skill. Like any player, there are areas that he can work on. But considering what I have seen in the Six Nations, and what Jason can bring, I do not think he would be out of his depth. He can play at that level."

Eddie Jones names his England squad for the three-Test series against the Springboks on Thursday morning.