Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee set to be a late Christmas present for the Bulls
CAPE TOWN - ONE of the worst-kept secrets in South African rugby is about to be unlocked – Marcell Coetzee will join the Bulls.
The Springbok loose forward, who missed out on the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups due to injury, is set to be unveiled as a Bulls player on Monday.
The Pretoria union gave their own game away on Christmas Day. Accompanied by a picture of a Springbok player in action against Argentina, the Bulls posted on Twitter: “#BullsFamily24 we have the biggest festive gift for you ...EVER! So big .. So cool... We still trying to package it. Check out our social platforms on Monday at 10h00. Our BIGGEST signing for the year... literally.”
A quick investigation found that the picture is of Coetzee carrying the ball against Los Pumas in Durban in 2015.
The 29-year-old is currently at Ulster in Northern Ireland, where he has been a stalwart at No 8 over the past few years after overcoming a few serious injuries, having joined them in 2016.
He signed a three-year contract extension last February, which was supposed to keep him at the club until the 2022 northern hemisphere summer.
But it seems as if the former Sharks flank – who has 30 Test caps – wants to make a last-gasp bid to force his way into the Springbok squad for next year’s British and Irish Lions series, and playing for a South African team will ensure that coach Jacques Nienaber takes note.
Bulls boss Jake White, when questioned about the Coetzee rumours in late November, said at the time: “I just ask him what it’s like to play in Europe and what it’s like at Ulster! Guys have got contracts, and we are busy trying to build a team – and we are in a very fortunate position where our shareholders are visionary and want to do well, so of course we are talking to anyone who we think comes out of contract at a certain time.
“Remember, legally you are not allowed to start interacting with players when they’ve got contracts. We’re not maybe talking to him, but talking about him to our board members and CEO, Edgar (Rathbone). Long-term, we want to create a good or special team, like Liverpool, and Man United, and Barcelona and Juventus, in Pretoria.”