Wed 6 Feb 2019 | 12:17

Bok extends Ulster stay

Bok extends Ulster stay
Wed 6 Feb 2019 | 12:17
Bok extends Ulster stay

NEWS: Ulster has been boosted by the news that Springbok Marcell Coetzee has put pen to paper on a three-year contract extension.

The deal will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least the summer of 2022.

The Springbok played just 290 minutes during his first two years at the club, starting only five matches due to repeated knee ligament damage.

However, Coetzee has come through that horrendous ordeal to lead Ulster’s charge to this season’s Champions Cup knockout stages and secure a juicy quarter-final in Dublin against defending champions Leinster.

Coetzee has been in superb form this season, starting 17 of Ulster’s 20 games to date and picking up two tries in the process.

His statistical returns highlight his impact on the pitch, topping Ulster’s charts for the highest number of carries, tackles and turnovers won across the Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14, while he has also been a key leader in a pack re-energised under coach Dan McFarland.

Coetzee, who has earned 28 caps for South Africa, says that he’s delighted to be committing his future to Ulster:

“First of all, I want to thank the players, staff and supporters of Ulster Rugby for standing by my side over the past three seasons,” the Bok loose forward said.

“It was a really tough mental and physical battle for me with the injuries, but I’m grateful for the support I had during that time and I’m determined to repay the faith shown in me.

“I can’t wait to see what the next three years hold for me and my wife personally, and for the club. We have a young, hungry squad that is clearly moving in the right direction under our coaching team.

“We have a lot of hard work to do, but I know that the entire organisation is focused on delivering success.”

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Commenting on the deal, McFarland said: “Marcell has been phenomenal for us this season and it’s a massive boost for us that he has chosen to remain at the club, even with significant interest from other clubs.

“He’s been through some difficult times since he arrived here and I’m delighted that he’s got a good run of games and performed at the level we know he’s capable of. At 27 years of age, we believe we are yet to witness some of his best rugby.

“Marcell provides real presence both on and off the field and is an example of what determination and persistence can achieve. His influence and knowledge as an experienced international player has been great for our young players and he will continue to play a key role in helping to develop our indigenous forwards.”

Chief Executive, Jonny Petrie, added: “To me, this is a big statement of intent and it’s a great endorsement of the rugby programme that we have in place under Dan.

“We’re an ambitious club and it’s encouraging that players of the calibre of Marcell want to be part of our future plans, which I believe to be hugely exciting.

“I’d like to thank Bryn [Cunningham, Operations Director] for his excellent, ongoing work in terms of our recruitment and retention. With the continued investment in the development of our existing young players, supplemented by overseas players, our squad depth for next season will be stronger. Our long-term succession planning is also starting to take shape and that is critical for the sustainable success of the organisation.”

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Bok Extends Ulster Stay | Rugby365