Ulster Rugby and Marcell Coetzee have reached an agreement to allow the 29-year-old back rower to return home to South Africa at the end of the 2020/21 season.
Having returned home during the first lockdown period in the summer, Coetzee expressed a strong desire to remain in South Africa amidst the ongoing uncertainty around the Coronavirus pandemic.
On return to Belfast, the South African international remained committed to finding a route home at the conclusion of his fifth season with the Ulstermen.
Today’s announcement – and the terms agreed for Coetzee’s release – enables Ulster Rugby and head coach Dan McFarland to move forward with recruitment for a long-term replacement. McFarland commented:
Marcell has been a great performer for us on and off the field and I’m sure he will continue to bring his high-performance standards through until June.
“We have a talented squad that is growing in experience. We are looking to supplement and support that talent, particularly in the forwards, in line with our ambition to consistently compete for championships.”
Coetzee said: “It all started during lockdown when I was back home for four months. My wife and I did a lot of thinking together about life and we also reflected on where I am in my career.
“We decided to come back to Belfast with an open mind, but ultimately we miss home, the South African culture and way of life – and after five seasons the longing for home has just caught up with us.
“I must say Ulster have been absolutely superb to me, on and off the field during my career, and I feel I have grown as a person and as a player for the experiences the province has given me. Ulster will always have a special place in the hearts of my wife and I.”