United Rugby Championship

STAT ATTACK | Forgotten Bok Marcell Coetzee has proven his weight in gold for mediocre Bulls

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Marcell Coetzee. (Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
Marcell Coetzee. (Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
  • Marcell Coetzee has continued his "love affair" with the URC by proving his weight in gold for the Bulls in a mediocre campaign.
  • The franchise's skipper and forgotten Bok boasts great stats to date this season, excelling both with ball in hand and on defence.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Stormers have been buoyed by the cracking form of Warrick Gelant and Evan Roos and their numbers reflect that.

While the Bulls return to Europe on a one-off trip against Zebre this week struggling to impose their authority on the United Rugby Championship (URC), their skipper has continued his proverbial love affair with the tournament.

Marcell Coetzee took the best part of three years to overcome long-term knee injuries when he joined Irish club Ulster in 2016, but then flourished in the then PRO14, ending his stint in Belfast by being named the Players' Player of the Year last season.

Recruited as a marquee player by Bulls director of rugby Jake White, the 30-year-old forgotten Springbok flanker is proving as relentless as ever in the current campaign.

And the official statistics for this inaugural URC season reflect that.

Coetzee has entrenched his reputation as a catalyst when the Bulls are on the front foot, completing the most off-loads of any player to date with 23.

That doesn't mean he's not willing to thrust himself into contact.

Coetzee has made successful 45 carries, which puts him in the top 10 for that metric, while also beating 11 defenders.

He's been rewarded with 3 tries as well.

However, with the Bulls generally on the back foot to date, Coetzee's real value lies in his defensive skills to keep his team in the frame.

The versatile loose forward has made 88 tackles, which is only one less than Sharks lock Ruben van Heerden, who is South Africa's most prolific tackler in the competition.

Coetzee boasts an impressive 93% tackle completion rate and his prowess on the ground is once again apparent through the 8 turnovers that he's won.

There's little doubt he's been worth every cent and is a testament to the judgement shown by the Bulls coaching staff to employ him as one of their core players.

Unsurprisingly, two stars of the Stormers' unexpected but welcome surge up the points table have been Warrick Gelant and Evan Roos.

SA's stats leaders in the URC to date

Most points

65 - Boeta Chamberlain (Flyhalf, Sharks)

Most tries

5 - Seabelo Senatla (Wing, Stormers); Makazole Mapimpi (Wing, Sharks)

Most successful carries

50 - Evan Roos (No 8, Stormers)

Most clean breaks

10 - Senatla

Most defenders beaten

25 - Roos

Most running metres

482 - EW Viljoen (Fullback/flyhalf, Lions)

Most off-loads

23 - Marcell Coetzee (Flanker, Bulls)

Most overall carries

94 - Warrick Gelant (Fullback, Stormers)

Most tackles

89 - Ruben van Heerden (Lock, Sharks)

Best tackle completion rate

98% - Henco Venter (Flanker, Sharks); Brok Harris (Prop, Stormers)

Most turnovers won

10 - Bismarck du Plessis (Hooker, Bulls)

Gelant, now surely in the driving seat to wear the Springboks' fullback jersey later this year, has gained an impressive 465 running metres, beaten 21 defenders and broken the line 6 times.

The 22-year-old Roos' stats are made even more impressive by the fact that he's been sidelined for a few weeks after sustaining a rib injury.

He's been patently outstanding at No 8.

319 running metres from 50 successful carries have been supplemented by him beating 25 defenders and completing 5 off-loads.

Defensively, Roos has completed 56 tackles with a completion rate of 89% and has won 5 turnovers.

His return to the Stormers' fold is most definitely welcomed. 

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