The Vodacom Bulls have been hit with a major setback ahead of their highly anticipated knockout match against the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
According to a report on SuperSport, star openside flanker and team captain Marcell Coetzee will not be eligible to play in Saturday’s URC quarterfinal at Cape Town Stadium, despite his recent return to South Africa after a six-month sabbatical in Japan.
Despite having played in seven games this season, Coetzee had been deregistered from the Bulls squad and will not be able to be re-registered in time for the blockbuster north-south derby. The Bulls had made every effort to get him registered, but their attempts have been unsuccessful due to competition rules.
It is a significant blow for the Bulls, who would have desperately wanted the 31-year-old available for the playoffs. Instead, it seems he will now play for the Blue Bulls against the Sharks in the Currie Cup this weekend.
The Bulls have remained tight-lipped about the situation, but it is understood that Coetzee’s ineligibility has come as a major disappointment to the team. With the Stormers likely to put up a strong challenge, the Bulls will need to dig deep and pull together to secure a victory.
Coetzee’s situation has also left fans wondering if he will be available should the Bulls win against the Stormers and have to travel abroad for the semi-finals.