Ulster have confirmed that South Africa international Marcell Coetzee will leave the club at the end of the 2020/21 season.
Coetzee started his career with Sharks in 2011 and had a brief stint with Japanese side Honda Heat before switching to Ulster in 2016. He was originally contracted with the Irish regional side until the end of the 2021/22 season but now has been released will be released early as he is set to join South African side Bulls.
The 6ft 4in back-row has played 30 Tests for South Africa and was last part of the warm-up matches leading to the World Cup last year.
“It all started during lockdown when I was back home for four months. My wife and I did a lot of thinking together about life and we also reflected on where I am in my career.
“We decided to come back to Belfast with an open mind, but ultimately we miss home, the South African culture and way of life – and after five seasons the longing for home has just caught up with us.
“I must say Ulster have been absolutely superb to me, on and off the field during my career, and I feel I have grown as a person and as a player for the experiences the club has given me. Ulster will always have a special place in the hearts of my wife and I.”
Ulster currently are at the top of Conference A in the Pro14 with nine wins from as many games.