Ulster back-row Marcell Coetzee has been ruled out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The luckless 28-year-old has been sidelined for up to three months, after suffering an ankle injury in South Africa's 24-18 win against Argentina on Saturday.
Coetzee left the field due to a concussion in the first half of the win in Pretoria but the Springboks management have since confirmed the Ulster star requires surgery on an ankle injury, which will rule him out for 12 weeks.
After a series of debilitating knee injuries, Coetzee returned to form for Ulster last season, scoring five tries in 23 appearances as they secured a Pro 14 playoff, and a place in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.
We are gutted for Marcell Coetzee as an ankle injury has ruled him out of participating in the Rugby World Cup. Wishing him a speedy recovery! pic.twitter.com/jTGBgqB0fD
— Ulster Rugby (at 🏡) (@UlsterRugby) August 19, 2019
That form earned him a recall to the Springboks squad for the World Cup training camps and Rugby Championship, picking up his first caps in four years in wins against Australia and Argentina. And while Coetzee wasn't a guaranteed name in Rassie Erasmus's 31-man squad for the World Cup, he had been vying with Francois Louw for the role as back-up to Duane Vermeulen. Speaking after Saturday's win against the Pumas, Erasmus had said Coetzee was very much in contention for a place to Japan.
"We’ll go and look at the injuries and combinations, but he is one of those great guys who is just so versatile. He can play openside and No 8 and you also know what you get from him, so those 15 minutes he played won’t be make or break for him."
The injury is also set to hit Ulster hard, with Coetzee set to miss up to six Pro 14 games, as he looks to return in time for the opening game of the Heineken Champions Cup.
Meanwhile, Argetnia are the latest team to name their 31-man squad for the tournament in Japan.
Head Coach Mario Ladesma has caused a few shocks, with Santiago Cordero and Facundo Isa two high-profile players left out of the squad.
— Los Pumas (@lospumas) August 19, 2019
The Pumas come into the tournament in desperate form, having lost all three games in their Rugby Championship campaign, as well the most recent defeat to the Springboks.
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