Dan McFarland dismisses Marcell Coetzee speculation

Ulster coach Dan McFarland has dismissed speculation linking talisman Marcell Coetzee with a move back to his native South Africa.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 1:00 pm
Marcell Coetzee of Ulster is tackled by David Cherry of Edinburgh Rugby during the Guinness PRO14 match between Edinburgh and Ulster at Murrayfield. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Marcell Coetzee of Ulster is tackled by David Cherry of Edinburgh Rugby during the Guinness PRO14 match between Edinburgh and Ulster at Murrayfield. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Coetzee has been instrumental in leading Ulster to the top of Conference A in the Pro14, the loose forward has started all eight games this season and scoring eight tries.

Jake White, South Africa’s 2007 World Cup winning coach, now with the Bulls based in Pretoria has expressed an interest in bringing the 30 times capped Springbok back home.

When asked if he speaks to Coetzee, White replied: “as often as I can”.

“Remember, legally you are not allowed to start interacting with players when they’ve got contracts,” added White.

“I just ask him what it’s like to play in Europe and what it’s like at Ulster. Guys have contracts, and we are busy trying to build a team and we are in a very fortunate position where our shareholders are visionary, long-term, we want to create a good or special team, like Liverpool, and Man United, and Barcelona and Juventus, in Pretoria.”

Coetzee is under contract at Kingspan Stadium until the summer of 2022 and McFarland is adamant he’s going nowhere.

“I haven’t read anything about that, Marcel is an Ulster player who is contracted to Ulster but I can’t comment on that anymore,” stated McFarland.

McFarland was full of praise for hooker John Andrew who bagged a hat trick of tries in Monday’s 43-14 win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

“John is playing really well, his super strength is his energy, he works really hard,” he said.

“Where he’s giving everything he’s inspiring everyone around him to work hard for the team, he embodies that every inch attitude that we talk about.

“Watch his kick-chase, watch how he works back, watch how he works to get off the floor to get back into the line in defence.

“In terms of where he is now compared to last season, it’s tough when you’re not playing. John decided he was going to go out there and enjoy the moment and live where his feet were, he has probably a bit more stoic approach to what he was doing.

“He wasn’t going to let the pressure of wanting something in the future take away from his enjoyment of the moment and you see that in his play, he’s playing like he’s enjoying the moment.”

While Andrew bagged three tries replacement hooker Brad Roberts made an eye catching cameo against Edinburgh.

The South African has been plying his trade with Rainey Old Boys in Division 2A of the All Ireland League and has been given a chance by Ulster.

“We’ve got some good clubs in Ulster, we’d heard rumours of this mad South African from Rainey,” explained McFarland.

“Rob (Herring) was with the international team, Tom Stewart is out for a while, James McCormick is out for a while and we were left with only two hookers.

“In the world of Covid, you can’t afford to take those risks, we got in contact with Bradley, we had a look at his footage.

“We thought there was something there so we brought him in, I tell you, it’s a tough ask to come in to a pro set-up and get on with it.

“It will be a while before the line-out stuff fits in neatly because that takes time but outside of that he’s done a real good job and he’s a real good fella.”