Marcell Coetzee on dropping out of Springbok mix: 'They clearly back the guys they have'

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  • Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee remained level-headed about his latest omission from the Springbok squad.
  • Coetzee played in the second Test defeat to Wales before being let go to his province before the Rugby Championship.
  • The loose forward commended his teammate Johan Grobbelaar, who also missed out on Bok selection, for a stellar URC season.

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee remained level-headed about his latest omission from the Springbok squad after failing to crack the mix for the Rugby Championship.

Coetzee played in the second Test defeat to Wales in Bloemfontein before being cast adrift for the upcoming Tests against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

Aphelele Fassi was also released, as Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber, who didn't shut the door on them indefinitely, reasoned that both exclusions were performance related.

READ | Laerskool Bergland, where 'Faffie' and other Springbok and Proteas seeds were sprouted

"They clearly back the guys that they have at the moment," Coetzee said on Wednesday night after accepting the Bulls' player of the season award.

"I know where I stand with them, so, if anything happens, I'm more than happy to oblige.

"But I want to wish them all the best for the Test against the All Blacks this weekend. We'll be rooting for them hard."

The Boks face the All Blacks in Mbombela on Saturday (17:05).


South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 1 George Bower

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea

Coetzee was recognised by his province on Wednesday night for an outstanding United Rugby Championship (URC) season in which he led the Bulls to the final, where they lost to the Stormers in Cape Town.

Hooker Johan Grobbelaar, another teammate who set tongues wagging last season, whom many thought would also break into Bok reckoning this year, won big at the franchise's awards evening.

Grobbelaar was part of the Springbok squad late last year but failed to make his international debut.

He scored nine URC tries in the tournament, bettered only by his skipper Coetzee and Stormers speedster Leolin Zas, who both finished on 11 touchdowns, and Benetton's Rhyno Smith (10).

"I think we forget how young he is still," Coetzee said about the 24-year-old.

"He's already taken the world by storm. He's very unfortunate not to be in the Springbok mix.

"He's had a phenomenal season and could have easily taken this main award as well.

"We love him as a player and a team man, he always puts the badge before himself and the players respect him a lot.

"The sky is the limit for him. He just needs to keep working hard, keep his head down and the honours will come."

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