Bulls finally confirm Marcell Coetzee signing: ‘I can’t wait to call Loftus Versfeld home’
CAPE TOWN - They joined the party way too late, but the Bulls finally confirmed the signing of Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee on Monday.
The Pretoria-based union actually let the cat out of the bag on Christmas Day when they announced on their social media accounts that “we have the biggest festive gift for you”, with a picture of a Springbok player in action against Argentina.
It proved to be Coetzee carrying the ball in Durban in 2015, and his current club Ulster revealed on Saturday that the 29-year-old was indeed moving to Loftus Versfeld at the end of the European season.
But the 30-cap Bok will have to wait until the new Rainbow Cup is completed before he can head back home, with the Bulls stating on Monday that Coetzee will join Jake White’s team in July 2021 on a three-year deal.
“Marcell is a phenomenal player, and any team in the world would be ecstatic to have a player of his calibre joining its structures. He has grown from strength to strength over the years, and is currently playing some of the best rugby of his life. He’s excited about being back in South Africa, and making Loftus his home,” White said in a statement.
In a short video on Monday, Coetzee said: “Just from my side, I’m really looking forward to joining the Bulls for the 2021 season – and also can’t wait to call Pretoria and Loftus Versfeld my new home.”
In a statement on Ulster’s website over the weekend, the former Sharks star spoke about his desire to return to South Africa after spending four months in the country during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier in the year.
“It all started during lockdown when I was back home for four months. My wife and I did a lot of thinking together about life, and we also reflected on where I am in my career,” Coetzee said.
“We decided to come back to Belfast with an open mind, but ultimately we miss home, the South African culture and way of life – and after five seasons, the longing for home has just caught up with us.
“I must say Ulster have been absolutely superb to me, on and off the field during my career, and I feel I have grown as a person and as a player for the experiences the club has given me. Ulster will always have a special place in the hearts of my wife and I.”
The Bulls are currently on top of the Currie Cup log on 35 points, four ahead of Western Province with two league games to go, and are awaiting the results of further Covid-19 testing before they are cleared to face the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday, January 6 (7pm kickoff).