- Bulls loose-forward Marcell Coetzee hasn’t given up on playing for the Boks, but also understands he’s far from selection reckoning.
- Coetzee has been capped 30 times by the Springboks, but hasn’t played a Test since 2019.
- Coetzee has missed out on two World Cups because of late injuries.
Bulls loose forward and regular skipper Marcell Coetzee hasn’t quite given up on a Springbok chance, but has also accepted he may be further from the queue than outsiders realise.
Speaking at the Carling Champions Match launch in Johannesburg on Thursday, Coetzee admitted that coaches have their prerogatives and are allowed to stick to them.
Coetzee, who has missed two World Cups because of injuries, wasn’t at the Springbok alignment camps.
“You can only control what you can, and that’s what you do on the field,” Coetzee said.
“You have to give everything and enjoy it while you can. Obviously, you do want a spot in the national team and it’s a pinnacle for South African rugby players.
“The coaches, though, know what they want in a player and who they’re backing, so they’ll acknowledge that.
“You just need to improve where you can so that you can be in their favour again.”
Coetzee, whose Bulls side will be hosted by Welsh outfit Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship on 21 May, had high aspirations for the remainder of the competition.
“It has its challenges, but every tournament that we enter, we want to win it,” Coetzee said.
“That’s what we are and what we stand for. It was a bit of a challenge in terms of rotating players and getting the right mix for the tournaments.
“That’s where I have to credit the coaches for the way they have structured their planning and they’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes.
“It remains a big challenge, but one we embraced and one we promised to go with.”
Coetzee experienced the best and worst of Super Rugby while playing for the Sharks, but playing for Ulster also gave him a taste of European rugby.
The loose-forward said it’s a compliment that the SA teams are missed in Super Rugby, but URC is where the heart is.
“I started my career in Super Rugby and I enjoyed my trips to New Zealand and Australia, but the URC is still a fresh tournament,” Coetzee said.
“We’ve had our challenges, but the travel is easier and we’ve got a chance to play against new teams.
“It is a compliment that they’re missing the SA team, but we’re pretty happy.”