Sunday 8 December 2019

Coetzee ‘humbled’ to repay Ulster’s faith

Marcel Coetzee will link up with the Ulster squad
Marcel Coetzee will link up with the Ulster squad
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

After it looked like Marcell Coetzee may never play professional rugby again following his second serious knee injury, the powerhouse Springbok flanker has rediscovered his best form.

There have been several different factors for Ulster’s rejuvenation this season and central to that has been Coetzee’s power in getting his side over the gain-line and crucially, sharing the load with Iain Henderson.

Coetzee will be vital to Ulster’s hopes of beating Connacht in Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 quarter-final, but he is just glad to be in a position to be able to help.

“It’s special and humbling,” Coetzee admitted.

“You missed just about all the games for almost two years and now coming into this, one of our better seasons, and playing play-off rugby is just the cherry on top.

“It’s a moment you want to make the most of with your team-mates and that’s the basic message for the younger guys, just enjoy it and enjoy the moment and grow with all the experience.”

Learning to trust his body to withstand the increasing demands of top-level rugby has been a remarkable redemption story for a player, who, on his day, is one of the best in the world.

“The big thing was getting from game to game without injury,” the 27-year-old added.

“Wherever I could contribute to the team, to pull my weight, was just a bonus.

“It’s been going well so far and I think one of my biggest hopes at the beginning of the season was not to get injured so in rugby that’s impossible with the physicality.”

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The problem with the Champions Cup, the Stephen Larkham effect and trouble in Welsh rugby

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport