What more does Marcell Coetzee need to do to impress Bok selectors?

Forum » Rugby » What more does Marcell Coetzee need to do to impress Bok selectors?

Apr 12, 2022, 13:20

He is among a group of players that are second on the Vodacom United Rugby Championship try-scoring list, he tops the championship’s offload stats and is fourth on the carries list, but for some strange reason the Vodacom Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee isn’t currently on the Springbok radar.

There are few that will discount the fact that his form since joining the Bulls from Ulster has been a massive part in why they are still contenders in this year’s URC campaign, but one has to wonder if Coetzee is going to be one of the unluckiest players ever in South African rugby if he continues to be ignored.

On Sunday Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber spent a fair chunk of time explaining the rationale to media behind the alignment camps and how difficult it is for any outside player to lift the Springboks in the squad right now.

And none more so than at loose forward.

The incumbents - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, strongman Duane Vermeulen and former World Rugby Player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit would walk into any test team worldwide and the likelihood that they will be dropped failing a significant injury or drop in form is not something that anyone close to the Bok side would even consider at this moment.

It is understandable, and the old adage of playing a player out of his position applies to anyone wanting to get into the squad of the World’s No 1 side right now.

But while most of the debate has centred around the omission from the alignment camp of Evan Roos, the possible inclusion of Elrigh Louw and the battle between two of the best young talents in the country at the moment, Coetzee seems to have been forgotten.

Of course the competition for positions will be massive - especially when you include Leicester Tigers’ duo of Jasper Wiese and Marco van Staden, Sale Sharks’ Du Preez twins and others like Kwagga Smith, who scored a hat-trick for his club in Japan this past weekend.

And that’s not even including the outliers - such as Rynhard Elstadt - whose form at Toulouse has found favour with the Bok selectors in the past.

But Coetzee has the pedigree, has the experience and is in exceptional form right now for the Bulls.

His name was touted ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour and forgotten. And just as he has been one of the unluckiest players in the past when it comes to national call-ups, it seems he might be once again.

In 2015 he lost out to Kolisi in a World Cup squad selection while he was in superb form for the Sharks. In 2019 he played against Argentina but missed World Cup selection when picking up an injury before the World Cup.

Ulster supporters talk about him as if he is a colossus and it is easy to underestimate the effect he had on the Belfast club while he was there.

Now a similar trend is being played out at the Bulls. Coetzee is a larger-than-life figure who has scored eight tries in this year’s URC. He continues to impress, perform at a level that would get most into a test team but wasn’t even mentioned when the Bok coach talked about loose forwards.

It may be that Nienaber was focusing more on the Roos-Louw debate and wanted to defuse that, but the omission was glaring when he mentioned the others in the Bok realm.

So Coetzee has to wonder, other than perform week in and out, what he needs to do to catch the Bok selectors’ eye? They definitely know what they have in the Bulls captain.

They have said so before.

But whether Coetzee adds to his 30 Springbok caps in the next season waits to be seen.

Apr 12, 2022, 13:49

Marcel has been very good but Evan Roos has been more dynamic and is young.

Unfortunately Marcel is now pushing 31 so I’m guessing Elrigh Louw has cracked it as he to is young like Roos

Apr 14, 2022, 04:12

But no coach, regardless of titles and success, is beyond being challenged, and my understanding is Coetzee, vocal and outspoken in his interaction with the coaches, challenged them on what he believed was a contradiction in selection policy in 2021. It resulted in a closed door now being locked.

The national coaching duo will tell you they simply don’t rate Coetzee and that they have better loose-forwards in the squad and that only so many can be selected. Once again, they will have their support base who nod AMEN to that.

Apr 14, 2022, 04:15

Article on the snubbing of Coetzee & Roos on Keo.co.za....i think that is the reason

Apr 14, 2022, 11:02

Coetzee gives you a fantastic bench option as he can cover all 3 positions and succeed. Very similar to Louw and should probably be in the match day 23 if not starting. 

But I don't think that his off-loads would be allowed under the very conservative boks. 

It is going to bite us the next two seasons as we continue with a conservative selection as well as our stuck it up our shirts and bash it up approach. 

The boks will be beaten unless we start posing more risk on attack to other teams and a players that can get over the advantage line and offload is invaluable. Especially with his success rate. 

Apr 14, 2022, 12:07

You guys are spot on, they should be blooding new players, just a few of around four at a time in the bigger squad and they should also tweak the attack so as to create more potency. The opposition will have studied the Bok game and would have developed new strategies to employ at the WC. 

Apr 16, 2022, 17:21

At this stage of the game we need to blood young players who will be ready for the next world cup.

As much as I admire and respect Marcel's rugby skills and experience he has reached the age that will not benefit the Springboks in a year or two.

Sad that he was injured and overlooked after recovering from those injuries as the Springboks could have benefited from his skill and experience.

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