Marcell Coetzee tells House of Rugby about his vow to Ulster
"He'd love to hear we called him a maverick!" remarked Ian Madigan.
"Well, he might start calling me Goose!" Marcell Coetzee quickly replied.
John Cooney's ears must have been burning, on Sunday evening, as two of his Ulster teammates talked him up to the high heavens. The northern province had lost, in heartbreaking fashion, at Gloucester but Cooney had proved his class in putting his side on the brink of a big win.
Coetzee missed the game, following a concussion sustained against Toulouse, but he is itching to help his side out in the festive inter-pros and in salvaging their European season.
On House of Rugby Ireland, Coetzee spoke with hosts Ian Madigan and Eimear Considine (from 27:20 below) about his two horrific knee injuries, the loyalty he felt when Ulster backed him on his recovery and his Springbok ambitions ahead of the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa.
LISTEN to the full Marcell Coetzee interview here:
Coetzee arrived at Ulster in August 2016 carrying a knee injury that eventually deteriorated and required surgery to repair his Anterior Cruciate Ligament. He missed most of his first season and then suffered another ACL injury and eventually underwent three knee surgeries in two years.
Through it all, Ulster opted to stick by the back-row who, at that stage, had been capped 28 times by South Africa. They rewarded him with a new contract and Coetzee repaid them by delivering epic performance after epic performance for the Red Hand province.
"Mentally, it took its' toll. But there was a bright light when Ulster said, 'We're going to back you and we'll see where it goes from here'. That just ultimately gave me the confidence to say, 'Hey, they're backing me. Let's do whatever I can to get back and just appreciate the game again, and give a bit back for the guys that backed me'."
Coetzee turned down "lucrative offers" from French clubs to join them, in 2018, and remain at Ulster. "I looked at the options that were presented to me and it was basically a no-brainer. I was staring at retirement, not long before that, and the guys at Ulster said, 'We'll back you'."
Also covered on the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode:
- Munster's epic comeback against Clermont
- That dangerous clear-out that Josh van der Flier was lucky to walk away from
- Marcell on Rassie Erasmus and his Springbok ambitions in 2021
- South Africa's doping issues and how best to clamp down
YOU CAN WATCH THAT FULL EPISODE HERE:
SUBSCRIBE TO HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND HERE
Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O'Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu, Schalk Burger, Dan Leo, James Lowe and Marcell Coetzee.