Bath may have found their replacement for Montpellier bound No.8 Zach Mercer, at least according to social media reports last night.
Mercer, on the fingers of Eddie Jones’ squad, surprised many in English rugby circles with his decision to sign the Top 14 big-spenders, a move which has effectively ended his England Test career. The 23-year-old Mercer won his two caps under Eddie Jones in 2018 during the November internationals, coming off the bench against the Springboks and Japan, but the move looks likely to have ended those hopes, at least for the time being.
Bath may already his replacement has been lined up, however, at least according to multiple South African accounts on Twitter.
Stuart Hooper’s side are being heavily linked with Stormers back row Jaco Coetzee, who’s starred for Western Province in this season’s Currie Cup. The highly-rated 24-year-old was injured last night playing for WP and had to be stretchered from the field in his side’s loss to the Sharks.
Although he has not had any involvement as yet with the Springboks, Coetzee has been tipped for big things, notwithstanding injures.
Bath are not the only European club interested in the 6’2, 108kg backrow, as Midi Olympique reported last week that Bayonne are said to have been keen on the South African. According to the French rugby news outlet, Bayonne are eager to sign Georgian Beka Gorgadze from Bordeaux Begles, but that their interest has also been piqued by Coetzee.
A product of Glenwood High School, Coetzee made one appearance for South Africa schools in 2014 having been snapped up by Sharks academy system. He swapped the Sharks for the Stormers in 2017.
Born in Pretoria, Coetzee is being likened by many as a similar player to former Bath and Springbok legend Francois Louw. Louw hung up his boots at the end of the 2019/20 campaign after making over 140 appearances for the club.
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