Coetzee brings the 'intimidation factor' Bath wanted
REACTION: Bath boss Stuart Hooper believes South African import Jaco Coetzee brings the type of ‘intimidation factor’ his team needs.
It was revealed this week that the highly-rated Stormers loose forward, Coetzee, has been recruited as a replacement for French-bound Zach Mercer.
The England international, Mercer, is leaving Bath to join French side Montpellier in the Top 14 next season.
Coetzee was granted an early release from his Western Province contract to move to England.
He brings vast experience alongside his impressive stopping power and physical play at the breakdown.
Coetzee brings significant attacking capability as a destructive ball-carrying No.8 and will add further dominance to the squad as it evolves its attacking game.
The 24-year-old forward – who was born in Pretoria, but grew up in KwaZulu-Natal – moved to Cape Town in 2017.
“With Jaco’s arrival, we feel we have an unbelievably exciting addition to the squad who will be available to play for the club for the full season,” Hooper said.
“He’s an intimidating ball carrier and will cause huge problems for our opposition no matter where he is on the field.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him compete with our current group of strong back rowers to get on the field for us.”
Mercer, who has two England caps, made his international debut as a replacement for flank Tom Curry in the 12-11 win over South Africa at Twickenham in November 2018.
His only England start came two weeks later at No.8 in the 35-15 win over Japan, also at Twickenham.
“It has been a long-standing dream of mine to play in France – the game is physical and will suit my playing style,” said Mercer, a Bath academy product who is out of contract later this year.
“I feel like I am able to offer the Top 14 something different and that is what I am looking forward to.
“I found it impossible to say no to the offer of a long-term contract with Montpellier.”
Montpellier are second from bottom in the Top 14 and have lost their last seven matches.