Ulster Rugby have confirmed that they have reached an agreement with back-row Marcell Coetzee to allow the player to return home to South Africa at the end of the 2020/21 season.
It comes after the Bulls all but confirmed his signing with a teaser Tweet.
“Having returned home during the first lockdown period in the summer, the 29-year-old expressed a strong desire to remain in South Africa amidst the ongoing uncertainty around the Coronavirus pandemic,” Ulster Rugby said. “On return to Belfast, the back-row remained committed to finding a route home at the conclusion of his fifth season at Kingspan Stadium.”
Today’s announcement – and the terms agreed for Coetzee’s release – enables Ulster Rugby and Head Coach Dan McFarland to move forward with recruitment for a long-term replacement.
Head Coach Dan McFarland said: “Marcell has been a great performer for us on and off the field and I’m sure he will continue to bring his high-performance standards through until June.
“We have a talented squad that is growing in experience. We are looking to supplement and support that talent, particularly in the forwards, in line with our ambition to consistently compete for championships.”
Coetzee said: “It all started during lockdown when I was back home for four months. My wife and I did a lot of thinking together about life and we also reflected on where I am in my career.
“We decided to come back to Belfast with an open mind, but ultimately we miss home, the South African culture and way of life – and after five seasons the longing for home has just caught up with us.
“I must say Ulster have been absolutely superb to me, on and off the field during my career, and I feel I have grown as a person and as a player for the experiences the club has given me. Ulster will always have a special place in the hearts of my wife and I.”
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