Rainbow Cup

Everitt on weird clash vs his protégé, now Bulls skipper Coetzee: ‘It will be quite sore’

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Marcell Coetzee. (Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
Marcell Coetzee. (Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
  • Sean Everitt admitted that it would be "quite sore" to come up against his former academy product Marcell Coetzee.
  • Coetzee will captain the Bulls at Kings Park, standing in for Duane Vermeulen, who went under the knife for his ankle injury.
  • The Sharks need a bonus-point win and must deny the Bulls picking up any log points to top the Rainbow Cup SA standings.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt admitted that it would be "quite sore" to come up against his former academy product Marcell Coetzee, who will captain the Bulls for their Rainbow Cup SA clash this Saturday.

Coetzee cut his teeth at the Shark Tank, spending his formative rugby years under Everitt's guidance at the Sharks Academy before graduating to become a Springbok as a Shark and later leaving for Irish club Ulster in 2016.

The 30-year-old - one of the most complete back-rowers the Sharks have ever produced - returned to South Africa to don unfamiliar sky blue colours.

Everitt said it would be "weird" seeing Coetzee turn out for the men from Pretoria, but he expected the usual wrecking ball performance from the Bulls stand-in skipper.

READ | Am, Bosch, Kolisi back as Sharks ring changes for Bulls tussle

"I think Marcell still holds a special place in many Sharks supporters' hearts. It will be quite sore," Everitt admitted.

"I coached Marcell when he came out of the little school, Port Natal, and brought him through the system.

"It will be quite weird to see him playing for the Bulls. He was magnificent last Friday night, and he's been really good for Ulster over the last few years when he's played and been injury-free.

"What's good about Marcell coming here is that we've got guys that want to prove themselves against the best, and he's undoubtedly been one of the best loose-forwards in Europe over the last few years.

"It's exciting times."

Coetzee narrowly missed out on a place in the 46-man Springbok squad revealed last Saturday despite showing his class in the Bulls' come-from-behind 31-27 win versus the Stormers at Loftus last Friday.

He showed he had lost none of the guile, agility and pure destructive mass that made him one of the toughest loose-forwards to face in South Africa despite his injury-hampered European career.

Everitt said Coetzee won't lack motivation, either, come Saturday evening (18:00 kick-off), especially with a Springbok carrot still dangling following Duane Vermeulen's ankle injury.

"Marcell is motivated every week that he puts a rugby jersey on, so whether he is captain or not, he's going to put in the best performance he can," said Everitt.

"At the same time, I'm sure he sees a gap in the Springbok setup with the injury to Duane. He would have been disappointed to be left out of that squad last week.

"I'm sure he wants to put his hand up so that if they do replace Duane, he has that opportunity to wear the Springbok jersey against the Lions."

The Sharks need a bonus-point win this weekend and must deny the Bulls picking up any log points to top the Rainbow Cup SA standings and book a north versus south finale with Benetton Treviso in Italy on 19 June.

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Anthony Volmink, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona 

Substitutes: TBA

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