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Ulster confirm 'awesome' Marcell Coetzee out of Challenge Cup as back row urged to step up

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Forwards coach Roddy Grant believes Ulster have quality players ready to step up in the absence of star number eight Marcell Coetzee.

The soon-to-be Blue Bull may have already played his last game for the province having said he is targeting a return to action only in time for the final rounds of Rainbow Cup in mid-June.

With details on just how that competition will work in the current climate thin on the ground, the Springbok’s absence for this week’s PRO14 dead-rubber against Zebre and the Challenge Cup campaign could mean we’ve already seen the last of him.

“Marcell has been awesome for us this year,” said Grant.

“You’ll miss guys through injury, that’s pro rugby. When it’s one of your best guys, obviously you don’t want that, but others will step up.

“That’s why you have a squad. He’s obviously one of our best players but it’s a good opportunity for other guys to come in.

“There’s been periods over the last couple years that he hasn’t been available and boys have stepped up and done well. Even over the last couple of weeks, Nick Timoney has come in and he’s played really, really well.

“In terms of like for like, guys get an opportunity to come in and it’s up to them to play well but it’s more about the blend of the back-row. I’m certainly a believer that the blend is important.

“You’ve got three guys who need to do different roles and that’s not necessarily to do with the number on their back.”

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