Ulster boss Dan McFarland has claimed he is in the dark about rumours linking star player Marcel Coetzee to a switch back to his native South Africa despite being currently contracted to the Irish province until 2022.

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“I haven’t read anything about that,” he said in the wake of Ulster’s latest PRO14 win. “Marcel is an Ulster player who is contracted to Ulster but I can’t comment on that any more.”

Coetzee has been a standout performer at Ulster in recent times after overcoming the serious knee injuries he suffered during his early period at the Belfast club. That form hasn’t gone unnoticed as the Bulls are interested in his services judging by what their boss Jack White has been recently saying. 

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Asked if he had been in contact with Coetzee, the 30-cap Springboks back row, White said: “As often as I can. I just ask him what it’s like to play in Europe and what it’s like at Ulster. 

“Guys have got contracts and we are busy trying to build a team. We are in a very fortunate position where our shareholders are visionary and want to do well, so of course we are talking to anyone who we think comes out of contract at a certain time.

“Remember, legally you are not allowed to start interacting with players when they have got contracts. We’re not maybe talking to him but talking about him to our board members and CEO Edgar (Rathbone). 

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“Long-term, we want to create a good or special team, like Liverpool, and Man United, and Barcelona and Juventus, in Pretoria.”

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