PRO14

Bok flank Marcell Coetzee scores 4 tries in 50th Ulster appearance

Marcell Coetzee (Twitter - Ulster Rugby)
Marcell Coetzee (Twitter - Ulster Rugby)

Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee dazzled by scoring four tries in his 50th appearance for Ulster on Monday night.

The Irish side kept their unbeaten march in the PRO14 by smashing Italian outfit Zebre 57-14 in Parma.

Coetzee's marquee game for the Belfast team easily underlined how important he is to Dan McFarland's side, as he dominated not only the scoreboard but the statistics as well.

His hat-trick came in the first half, ensuring the result was never in doubt, and his overall impact was felt throughout the game. With 15 successful carries, two turnovers and a 100% tackle rate there was very little more that Coetzee could do to stamp his dominance on the game.

Coetzee began his barrage in the fifth minute, opening the scoring for the Ulstermen, a score that was quickly cancelled out as Antonio Rizzi hit back almost immediately for Zebre.

But then with the Ulster maul in fine form, it broke Zebre's defence and Coetzee's arm stretched over for the second. His third was a brutal barge over just before the break.

Early in the second half, Coetzee won an excellent turnover that led to Luke Marshall's try before adding his fourth from the back of the maul.

The win kept up the Irish dominance of the competition and Ulster's unbeaten run, matching champions Leinster with six wins in six games but only behind because they grabbed two bonus points less.

Leinster were unstoppable, compounding Richard Cockerill’s nightmare season as they scored their sixth consecutive bonus point win with a 50-10 thumping of Edinburgh.

Leinster ran in eight tries to again underline their superiority in the contest, with South African scrumhalf Nic Groom getting the only consolation try for Edinburgh on a night they would rather forget.

The two results, combined with Munster's win over Ospreys on Sunday to confirm their best start in 11 years under coach Johann van Graan, continued the Irish dominance of the tournament.

Munster won 38-22 thanks to a hat-trick from Gavin Coombes, which cemented their best start to the competition since 2008.

Coombes, who filled regular No 8 CJ Stander's boots, continued his love affair with Welsh sides, after he scored twice against Cardiff Blues earlier in the season and put the Limerick team on top of the standings in Conference B with an eight point lead over the Cardiff Blues.

Welsh sides had a better weekend as Scarlets edged past Connacht 20-14 on Saturday to prevent another Irish clean sweep and give them back-to-back wins. Connacht's disappointment was confounded by the fact that their last two fixtures had been postponed because of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Cardiff managed to end a three-game losing run with a 22-5 win over Benetton at Rodney Parade.

Benetton had not played since round three, mainly due to postponed matches because of the Covid-19 outbreak, and still need to record a win after four games in the competition.

PRO14 results:

Connacht 14-20 Scarlets
Munster 38-22 Ospreys
Zebre 14-57 Ulster
Cardiff Blues 22-5 Benetton
Leinster 50-10 Edinburgh

- PRO14 media

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