28 times capped Springbok, Marcell Coetzee, is finally set to make his long-awaited debut for Ulster this weekend.
Having signed for the northern province in February 2016, the Sharks loose forward injured his ACL playing for the Durban franchise against the Lions in April. Coetzee was subsequently ruled out for approximately 9 months.
The versatile back rower arrived in Belfast in August ahead of the Guinness Pro 12 season in order to continue his rehabilitation. Seven months on from touching down on Irish soil, Coetzee has been named in Ulster’s starting team against Edinburgh this weekend. The marquee summer signing will make his debut at the Kingspan Stadium with the hopes of helping to end Ulsters four-game losing streak in all competitions.
Coetzee’s return to play couldn’t have come at a better time with Ulster’s pack looking increasingly short on ball carriers. The former Sharks back rower brings with him a tenacity that has been severely missed in the Ulster back row since the departure of Nick Williams.
Despite this fixture taking place during an international window, Ulster are still capable of fielding a team including names like Piutau, Olding, Diack and McCloskey.
Having been out of action for ten months, Coetzee will be chomping at the bit to make an impact for his new province. Ulster’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss will be hoping the Springbok forward can help the northerners pick up some much-needed points in the Pro12 over the Six Nations period.