MARCELL COETZEE HAS been handed an international lifeline by South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus, after the Ulster back row was included in the Springboks’ summer training squad.
Coetzee, who won the last of his 28 caps four years ago, is coming off the back of an excellent season with the northern province and earns a recall for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
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Coetzee made 23 appearances for Ulster last season. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland
The 28-year-old will now have the opportunity to force his way into Erasmus’ World Cup plans, having previously outlined his desire to resume his Springbok career after overcoming a number of injury setbacks.
Coetzee moved to Ulster in 2016 but his first couple of years in Belfast were plagued by injury, with the Potchefstroom native forced to undergo knee surgery last year.
Upon his return to fitness at the start of last season, Coetzee showed his worth at Kingspan Stadium by helping the province into the Champions Cup knockout stages for the first time since 2014.
Overall, he made 23 appearances last term, starting all seven of Ulster’s European games, and was rewarded with a new three-year contract back in February.
Erasmus’ 26-man panel will convene in Pretoria to begin preparations for their Rugby Championship opener against Australia on 20 July. Among those also included are Toulouse back row Rynardt Elstadt and Sale scrum-half Faf de Klerk.
South Africa squad:
Schalk Brits (Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Rynardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester), Marvin Orie (Lions), Kwagga Smith (Lions).
Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse), Dillyn Lleyds (Stormers), Willie le Roux (Verblitz), Cobus Reinach (Northampton), Frans Steyn (Montpellier).
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