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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 8 May 2021

Ulster's Coetzee returns to Springboks 23 for first time in four years

The powerful back row has been named on the bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with Australia.

ULSTER BACK ROW Marcell Coetzee has been named in South Africa’s matchday 23 for the first time since 2015, with Rassie Erasmus selecting the 28-year-old on the bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship meeting with Australia [KO 4.05pm Irish time, Sky Sports Action].

Coetzee, who is set to add to his 28 caps for the Springboks, joined Ulster in 2016 but endured two miserable, injury-ruined seasons in his first two years with the province.

Ulster’s Marcell Coetzee Coetzee is coming off the back of a superb season for Ulster. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

However, the powerful back row stayed injury-free last season and delivered a superb season under Ulster boss Dan McFarland, prompting Boks head coach Erasmus to hand him a recall to the international squad.

Coetzee is now set to end a long wait for his 29th Test cap in the clash against the Wallabies at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Erasmus has rested many of his frontline stars for the Rugby Championship opener against Michael Cheika’s Wallabies, targeting the clash with New Zealand in Wellington the following weekend.

Eben Etzebeth takes over the captaincy with Siya Kolisi missing through injury, while debutant scrum-half Herschel Jantjies and Elton Jantjies will look to guide the team from the nine and 10 shirts.

Marcell Coetzee Coetzee hasn't played for the Boks since 2015. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Toulouse flanker Rynhardt Elstadt makes his Test debut in the six shirt, while replacement scrum-half Cobus Reinach is set for his first Boks appearance since 2015, having convinced Erasmus of his quality with an outstanding season for Northampton the Premiership.

29-year-old Lizo Gqoboka is the third player in the matchday 23 set for his debut, the Bulls man providing loosehead prop cover on the bench.

South Africa (v Australia):

15. Warrick Gelant
14. Sbu Nkosi
13. Jesse Kriel
12. André Esterhuizen
11. Makazole Mapimpi
10. Elton Jantjies
9. Herschel Jantjies

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Bongi Mbonambi
3. Trevor Nyakane
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain) 
5. Lood de Jager
6. Rynhardt Elstadt 
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit
8. Francois Louw 


16. Schalk Brits
17. Lizo Gqoboka
18. Vincent Koch
19. Marvin Orie
20. Marcell Coetzee
21. Cobus Reinach
22. Frans Steyn
23. Dillyn Leyds

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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