Marcell Coetzee retains a burning ambition to continue performing consistently in hopes of reviving his Test career, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Over the past three years, Coetzee has spent an inordinate amount of time on the sidelines due to a series of unfortunate injuries that have stunted a highly-promising career.
However, the 27-year-old made a long-awaited return to action for Irish club Ulster last September, and has been in outstanding form over the past few weeks.
Coetzee played the last of his 28 Tests back in 2015, while many pundits felt he was extremely unfortunate to miss out on World Cup selection that year.
The former Sharks loose forward has endured one injury setback after another since then, but he told SARugbymag.co.za on Wednesday that he was so pleased to be finally enjoying a run of injury-free rugby.
‘It [the injuries] did have a big effect on me. I’m very passionate about playing for the Boks. Once you’ve had a taste of playing in the green and gold, it’s like an addiction and you just want to experience more and more,’ he commented. ‘The injuries have obviously put me back a bit, and there are players who have really taken their chances in the meantime. But the challenge for me was to take the injuries in my stride, and just get on with it.
‘The one thing I can say is that if I should ever get the call-up, I’d jump at the chance. I’m still so passionate about the Springbok jersey and so all I can do is ensure that I’m performing well enough to be ready if the opportunity comes around again.’
Should Coetzee remain fit and in-form, he may well come back into the national reckoning when one considers that he is capable of playing across all three positions in the back row.
Most recently, Coetzee has been predominantly rotated between blindside flank and eighthman at Ulster, but he explained that his role doesn’t really change.
‘I love carrying the ball, the physicality of the game and also competing at the breakdown. When playing at 8, I’ve also had to link with the backs, so it’s all been good.’
Coetzee will next be in action when Ulster take on the Leicester Tigers in a crunch European Champions Cup clash this Saturday.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images