Home Sport Marcell Coetzee on Springbok hopes: ’You just want to enjoy your rugby’

Marcell Coetzee on Springbok hopes: ’You just want to enjoy your rugby’

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The 30-year-old missed out on the 2015 and 2019 tournaments due to untimely knee and ankle injuries respectively that occurred in the lead-up to those events.

Marcell Coetzee of the Bulls is challenged by Tommaso Menoncello of Benetton during the United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on April 23, 2022. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

MARCELL Coetzee has had the most unfortunate luck when it comes to the Springboks and Rugby World Cups, but he is not thinking about the 2023 edition in France either.

The 30-year-old missed out on the 2015 and 2019 tournaments due to untimely knee and ankle injuries respectively that occurred in the lead-up to those events.

Since returning from Ulster in Belfast, Coetzee has led the Bulls with aplomb, and has been outstanding in the United Rugby Championship as an openside flank.

His work-rate as a ball-carrier and defender has always been his strongest suit, while he also contests hard at the breakdowns.

But up to now, he has yet to crack Jacques Nienaber’s squad, and was again ignored for the recent Springbok alignment camp held in Durban.

The loose-forward situation is highly competitive, and that is even before you consider that the 2019 World Cup-winning combination of captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen will all be available for the three-Test series against Wales in July.

But Coetzee’s experience – he has 30 Test caps to his name – could be handy at a World Cup, and it would also be a case of third-time lucky for the former Sharks No 6.

Asked about his Bok ambitions ahead of Friday’s URC clash against Glasgow at Loftus Versfeld (7pm kick-off), Coetzee said: “At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control on the field.

“And for me at the moment and at my age, you just want to plough back into the team at the Bulls, and for young guys like Elrigh [Louw], you just want to give back with your experience.

“You just want to enjoy your rugby and give your everything every weekend.”

Coetzee’s ability to play in all three loose-trio positions is an added bonus, but he is contending with Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Rynhardt Elstadt, Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez, as well as SA-based stars such as Evan Roos, Elrigh Louw, Deon Fourie, Hacjivah Dayimani and Vincent Tshituka for a spot in the Bok squad.

But he is just happy to combine with Louw and new Bulls flank Cyle Brink, who has made a big impact in his short time in Pretoria.

“It’s great to play with Ella, Arno (Botha), Cyle, and guys like Muller (Uys) … There is a very good loose-trio group here, so it forces you to pitch up every week, because the guy is right behind you. You want to give your everything,” Coetzee said.

“A guy like Cyle came into the syste really well. He is very nice off the field. He still battles a bit with the Afrikaans! But we will get him there.

“His play speaks for itself. Since he’s put on that Bulls jersey, he has added a lot of value, and he is growing and getting better and better.”

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