Rugby

Ulster Star Earns First Springboks Call Up In Four Years Ahead Of Rugby World Cup

Ulster Star Earns First Springboks Call Up In Four Years Ahead Of Rugby World Cup

Ulster back rower Marcell Coetzee has earned his first international call up since 2015 after being named in South Africa's summer training squad ahead of this year's Rugby Championship.

The 28-year-old has not lined out for his country since arriving in Ireland three years ago, with his time at Ravenhill disrupted hugely by injuries.

But now Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has handed Coetzee a lifeline to force his way into South Africa's World Cup squad, a just reward for a fantastic season for Ulster.

The South African has previously expressed his desire to add to his 28 international caps, saying earlier this year:

"I'm very passionate about playing for the Boks. Once you've had a taste of playing in the green and gold, it's like an addiction and you just want to experience more and more.

"The one thing I can say is that if I should ever get the call-up, I'd jump at the chance. I'm still so passionate about the Springbok jersey and so all I can do is ensure that I'm performing well enough to be ready if the opportunity comes around again."

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Marcell Coetzee made 23 appearances in all for Ulster last season - including in all seven of their European games as Dan McFarland's men reached the knockout stages of the Champions Cup for the first time since 2014.

He was rewarded for his good performances with a new three-year deal at the province and will now be hoping to back that up with a trip to Japan for the World Cup, where South Africa open their campaign against two-time defending champions New Zealand in Pool B.

If Coetzee does manage to earn a spot in the Springboks' squad this autumn, he could face off against his Ulster teammates in the quarter-finals, with the winner of Ireland's group facing the runner-up of South Africa's pool and vice versa.

Read More: Seán O'Brien Sanctioned By IRFU For 'Inappropriate Behaviour'

Kevin Beirne

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