Ulster confirm Coetzee departure

Ulster have confirmed that Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee will return to South Africa at the end of the current 2020-21 season.

SARugbymag.co.za has received impeccable confirmation that Coetzee will be joining the Vodacom Bulls, who will make the official announcement on Monday.

READ: Coetzee set to join Bulls

In a statement from Ulster on Saturday, though, the Ireland club said that terms had been agreed to allow Coetzee to leave the club at the end of the current season.

The statement also confirmed that Coetzee had expressed a strong desire to remain in South Africa amidst the ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic. This desire remained the same even after the 29-year-old had returned to Belfast when the PRO14 season resumed.

‘Marcell has been a great performer for us on and off the field and I’m sure he will continue to bring his high-performance standards through until June,’ Ulster head coach Dan McFarland said.

‘We have a talented squad that is growing in experience. We are looking to supplement and support that talent, particularly in the forwards, in line with our ambition to consistently compete for championships.’

Coetzee confirmed in a statement that after reflecting on his career during lockdown, he decided it was best to return home to South Africa.

Coetzee has been with Ulster since joining from the Sharks in 2016. While the first two seasons of his PRO14 career were impacted by knee injuries, Coetzee repaid Ulster’s faith by helping them into the final of the 2019-20 season, where they were beaten by Leinster.

The Springbok was nominated for European Player of the Year and was named Ulster’s Personality of the Year and the Ulster Supporters Club Player of the Year in 2020.

Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

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Dylan Jack