Ulster Rugby has said they are continuing to stay in touch with Belfast-bound Marcell Coetzee after he suffered a serious knee injury at the weekend,WRITES RICHARD MULLIGAN.
The South African international back row was expected to arrive in Ulster before the start of the European comeptitions in October.
However, he sustained a serious knee injury playing with the Sharks against Lions in the Super Rugby match on Saturday.
It is expected the Springbok will be out for at least nine months, meaning he may not be available to play until December or at worst January 2017.
Ulster director of rugby, Les Kiss, said the club had talked to Coetzee and will continue to keep in touch.
“It is such an unfortunate situation for Marcell and we have wished him well.
“But for us, the onlyl thing that really matters is what is in front of us and that is going to Zebre this weekend and getting the win we need to keep our play-offs hopes in the PRO12 alive.”
There is probably no dobut that Ulster may consider looking to bring in a short-term replacement for Coetzee.
But they would of course have to seek permission from the IRFU to seek another overseas player and that could prove difficult in the current climate.
On Monday, Operations Manager Bryn Cunningham said: “I have been speaking with both Marcell and his agent over the weekend to express our sympathy with the injury, first and foremost. It is incredibly unlucky but unfortunately it is the nature of any contact sport.
“We have been discussing rehab schedules and other finer details, but most importantly, an arrival time for next season, which will be finalised in the next few weeks.
“Marcell is already taking a positive outlook, such is the character of the individual, and he is really excited about getting fitter and stronger than ever before to really excel for Ulster next season and beyond.”