Former Ulster No8 Marcell Coetzee has said his time at the Kingspan Stadium was “a chapter in my life I will never ever forget,” after arriving back in South Africa.
Coetzee was released early from his contract with Ulster this month ahead of his move to the Bulls in his native South Africa. A thigh injury had ended the 29-year-old’s season early, which in turn brought his five-year stay in Belfast to an end.
The 30-cap Springbok will obviously play no part in Ulster’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup campaign, which starts on Friday against Connacht, or the end of their Challenge Cup campaign, where they face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road next week in the semi-finals.
Despite missing the end of the season, the South African was named the PRO14 Players’ Player of the Season, after finishing as the league’s joint-top try scorer and with the most offloads. A season that has had both stunning performances and injuries is a microcosm of his time with Ulster.
Coetzee took to Instagram this week after arriving back in South Africa to thank Ulster and their fans. He said: “I have arrived safely in South Africa but it will be a sin to not reflect back on the past years in Ireland with utmost gratitude to Ulster and The Ulster fans.
“It’s a chapter in my life I will never ever forget and will always be thankful for the memories shared on and off the field.
“I’m really sorry about not ending the season on a high note with the boys, but unfortunately the injury limited my time with Ulster rugby.
“Thank you for every message, positive and negative from every fan and critic. It helped me through tough times, as well through good times.
“I am sorry I couldn’t greet everyone personally but hopefully through this post will show my appreciation and passion for my time spent at Ulster.”
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