Coetzee’s performance in the semi-final didn’t go unnoticed, with the player that Ulster had invested so much into after his first two injury-plagued seasons delivering when it mattered against Edinburgh.
Coetzee showed his fighting spirit by overcoming two ACL injuries, surgery and missing two Rugby World Cup squad selections at the last moment, only to return a week later week to put in inspirational performances for his club shows a pedigree that Ulster will need if they are to create an upset this weekend.
“He’s a courageous man,” Ulster coach Dan McFarland said about the Springbok looseforward.
Coetzee played just four games in his first season for Ulster, and one in his second after both his knee injuries required surgery, but McFarland underlined his worth by placing him in a league of players who deliver in big moments.
“He doesn’t win many man-of-the-match awards, but that is because John Cooney wins so many of them isn’t it,” said McFarland. “He is a massive player.
“Physically he is massive, but he also makes clutch plays, and in those games you need clutch players.
“Johnny Sexton is a clutch player. When you need him to kick a penalty to the corner and land it five metres from the tryline he just pulls it out the bag. And Marcell, when you need a jackal, he just pulls it out of the bag.
“In the last 20 minutes when you need a number of muscular carries, he will do that for you.
“He works tirelessly for us and he is a great man to have around as well.
“He is what a lot of psychologists would describe as ‘social blue’.
“He doesn’t lead in the sense of telling people what to do the whole time, but he has a way about him that pulls people together and makes people feel as if they are part of it, and they are important. I’ve got a lot of respect for Marcell.”