The rise and rise of Marcell Coetzee

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks on 8 Jun 2012 at 09:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

It’s been said before here – in fact, many times over during the course of the last two years – but I think that on the eve of his first Springbok cap, we need to once again point out exactly how proud we are of young Marcell Coetzee.

To say that Coetzee’s rise to rugby glory over that period has been meteoric would be something of an understatement. This is a young man who was snubbed at every conceivable opportunity by the supposedly knowledgeable folks who run the junior game, with his somewhat unfashionable high school seemingly putting the kibosh on his Craven Week selection chances. With so much dependant on attending this one-off event, many an aspiring schoolboy rugby player can find any hopes of a senior career dashed before they even turn 18, thanks to the cruel strokes of these wise men’s pen. With no representative caps at schoolboy level, Coetzee went about building his reputation the hard way, yet after a decent under 19 season in 2010 that saw him called up to the Vodacom Cup squad the year afterwards, he was yet again snubbed as the SA Under 20 selectors collected their chosen players together last year.

After just two matches for the Sharks XV, in which he was the clear MVP and simple a cut above the others playing in that competition, Coetzee received a surprise call-up to join the Sharks Super Rugby tour squad and although he didn’t play on that tour, went on to make his debut against the Brumbies a few weeks later. Despite quickly establishing himself as a regular in the Super Rugby side, Dawie Theron and his under 20 selectors continued to ignore Coetzee, allowing players such as Arno Botha and Siya Kolisi to establish star reputations in the IRB Junior World Championship whilst Coetzee was cutting his teeth at Super Rugby level.

The trend continued in the Currie Cup, with Marcell scoring a try on debut in the first match and going on to become a fixture in the starting lineup, even keeping Jacques Botes out of the match 22 for the final. In the 2012 Super Rugby season to date, Coetzee’s name is probably the first written onto the team sheet each week and based on the superb work he’s put in for the Sharks over the course of 14 matches, Port Natal’s 21-year-old former captain was duly named this week to start his first test, against England at Kings Park. He’ll become that school’s second test Springbok after Gert Muller, who played 14 tests in the 60s and 70s.

Marcell – congrats to you mate. You’ve done superbly well and we couldn’t be any prouder of you. Remember, though, that this great honour is just the start of a brand new road that you need to take and that all of your achievements in Currie Cup and Super Rugby count for very little in the international arena. Starting on Saturday, you’ll again be a pretty small fish in a big pond and the challenge is to start carving out a new – and even bigger – reputation on the biggest stage there is. We know that you have all the skills you need to do just that, but even more importantly, we know that you have the correct attitude, as you have shown before. Keep doing your best, keep learning, keep working as hard as ever and know that your fans here at Sharksworld will always, always, be behind you every step of the way.

We’d also like to congratulate Dries, Delia, Andrea, Armand and any other members of the Coetzee family that we may have missed out. Your boy continues to do you (and us) proud and I cannot express in words how deeply pleased I am that you are all part of the Sharks family!


  • Well done to Marcell. He has a fantastic work ethic and deserves everything. Who needs age group rugby when you can play for the big boys πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.06.12 09:08:49 by lostfish Reply
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  • Well done Marcell, a great achievement! The article is slightly biased and obviously written by a Porties supporter, but hey it’s something to be proud of. I personally think he was lucky to be given his chance and took it. If only Plum gave guys like Fran Kleyheins, steph du toit etc the same chance. Kleyheins, Coetzee and Daniels would be an awesome trio!

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.06.12 09:13:17 by Grasshopper Reply

  • @lostfish (Comment 1) : Hehe Lostfish was thinking the same! Let the small fries of Arno et al carry on playing with the little guys our guy has made it big time! And he has done it all on his own which imo is far more rewarding!

    Well done Marcell!!! Enjoy tomorrow and the rest of what is promising to be an illustrious carreer!

    To the Coetzee family congratulations!

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.06.12 09:19:17 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • I remember last year the Sharks XV played a warm-up match in Newcastle against an Newcastle Highlanders invitational team. I did updates from my phone on the he night. It was the first time I actually really saw Marcell play. It might not have been the best opposition on the night but he was hugely impressive in all that he did including scoring 4 tries of his own that night. I think it was either March or April last year.

    Not even in my wildest dream did I think that little more than a year later he would be in the staring 15 of the Springboks.

    Well done Marcell. Keep doing what you’re doing and stay as humble as you are.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.06.12 09:19:43 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Grasshopper (Comment 2) : DANIEL! πŸ‘Ώ πŸ˜€

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.06.12 09:20:42 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Grasshopper (Comment 2) : dude. Go see a shrink. Only someone with a mental aberration could honestly perceive this as a slight in your beloved glenwood. Honestly.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.06.12 09:20:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Grasshopper (Comment 2) : Oh and by the way College is going to show you your …tomorrow! πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ my boy is playing for U15s pity I can’t stay for the 1st team match but Kings Park is waiting!!!!! Go Bokke!

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.06.12 09:22:30 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) :

    Just searched the thread. It was 18 Feb 2011!

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.06.12 09:22:34 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Its been a long time since I’ve been so chuffed for a player cracking the nod for being selected as a Bok, never mind a starting spot and I think the main reason Im so chuffed is because he comes from a school other than one of these glamorous rugby schools that get tv time more often than some teams in the Vodacom Cup.

    One request to Marcel….keep those feet firmly anchored to the ground, it will stand you in good steed especially with us fans (refer to the article on Jacques Botes for confirmation)

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.06.12 09:34:44 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 7) : Where are they playing, I hope its at Glenwood, or preferably in Kimberley (where they played really well), because if they play like they did last week at home then I think they will get destroyed. They were really poor against Kearsney. Maybe the occassion was too big…hmmm could be many potential future Shark players there. 😈 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.06.12 09:49:19 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Verspoed Marcell!

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.06.12 10:01:40 by MerckZ Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 10) : Its at Glenwood!

    Yes last week College was really disapointing but they were playing with 8 first choice players out because of injury, and also I agree that the occasion was too big for these young guys, 7000 old boys attending in all their regalia, the T.V. Toks and Wiese must have got to them. But what an atmosphere! I am really enjoying this College experience.

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.06.12 10:11:35 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 10) : “could be many potential future Shark players there” – Thats if the Sharks scouts are in the Province and not in Northern climes 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.06.12 10:14:33 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 13) : πŸ˜†

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.06.12 10:18:57 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • The South African born English lock is also one who has reached the top despite not having noticed by anybody at school or club while in SA. 😎 3

    Congrats Mouritz.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.06.12 10:23:06 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 15) : Born in Vryheid nogal. Where did he go to school?

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.06.12 10:37:08 by Bokhoring Reply
  • What an awsome article Roberto – could not have said it better myself! As my self-proclaimed sharks-son, I am also a very proud sharks-mom today!

    GO MARCELL!!!!

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.06.12 11:48:29 by Ice Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) :

    The thread from that game!

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.06.12 12:00:50 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 16) : Not sure, but I read that he said it was not at any “rugby schools”.
    Joe Pietersen is also a Vryheid born kid.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.06.12 12:01:52 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 19) : and when to school in newcastle

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.06.12 12:18:52 by Franshark Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : The dude’s obviously a bit paranoid after his school got hit by two selection scandals in one year… πŸ™„

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.06.12 12:23:47 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @Franshark (Comment 20) : Happy birthday, Fransie!! πŸ˜€

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.06.12 12:23:51 by Ice Reply
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  • @Grasshopper (Comment 2) : Sorry, but how can you say he was lucky to be given a chance?? The whole article is about how unlucky he was to be overlooked through most of his life and how he built his career the hard way. Right now he is the leading tacker in the Super series by a country mile. That’s hard work, not fluke.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.06.12 12:27:49 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @Franshark (Comment 20) : Which one – did Bakkies also go to school in Newcastle?

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.06.12 12:28:34 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 24) : yes Bakkies also schooled in Newcastle

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.06.12 12:34:27 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Robdylan and co, Jeez, apologies guys. It seems I said something wrong. What I meant to say was well done to Marcell for taking his opportunity once Plum gave him his chance. My point was I hope Plum gives other young players a chance too. Guys like Kleyheins, Steph Du Toit, Cloete, Majola, Zeilanga, Dell etc. My comment was a brain fart, so apologies. Rob I though you had more class than to attack my mental state…

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.06.12 13:36:56 by Grasshopper Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) :
    Go Marcell!! This oke will play Super Rugbuy soon!!
    Comment 68, posted at 18.02.11 19:39:15 by Richard “The Rugby Prophet” Ferguson πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.06.12 15:02:51 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Grasshopper (Comment 26) : sorry – in hindsight my comment was overly harsh.

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.06.12 15:14:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • The 2 local newspapers here on the South Coast (KZN) has run full page stories on Marcel, proud product of the South Coast and originally (as far as I know – before going to Port Natal) from HoΓ«rskool Port Shepstone.

    I don’t think we’ll have to worry about his head getting too big, with his dad a true gentle giant. I am super stoked for the lad showing, pedigree has nothing to do with it, it’s all about heart.

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.06.12 15:54:16 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Well done Marcell. I think your biggest strength is your desire to excel and your balanced mindset – something you share with Pat Lambie.

    I’m glad to see someone willing and able to take the dirt road to success – also similar to Lwazi Mvovo.

  • Comment 30, posted at 08.06.12 17:29:24 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I’m still so suprised that we have the most bok reps. Still trying to figure it out. And i must really eat my words about Coetzee. Never rated him above Deysel. But if he is selected infront of even Brussow then i was obviously way off the mark. Maybe i must start concentrating more on him during games or something. Well done Marcell.

  • Comment 31, posted at 08.06.12 20:59:06 by cody007 Reply

  • Well done Marcell! Don’t play like it’s your first Bok game, play like it’s your last. Bruise those Poms!

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.06.12 22:16:40 by Die Kriek Reply


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