Ulster's powerful back-rower Marcell Coetzee has been called up to South Africa's upcoming training squad for the Rugby Championship, giving the 28-year-old a shot of selection for the Rugby World Cup.
Coetzee hasn't featured for the Springboks since joining the Irish province in 2016, with the last of his 28 caps coming against Argentina, prior to the 2015 World Cup.
He was a key member of Dan McFarland's side last season, playing 23 times and scoring five tries, as Ulster reached the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup, as well as the Pro 14 semi-finals.
That form earned Coetzee a new three-year contract at Ulster, marking an outstanding comeback for him after spending a year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
And that form has been rewarded further by Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, who has included him among a 26-man training squad for the Pretoria training camp, leading up to next month's truncated Rugby Championship campaign.
He's one of several European-based players includes, along with Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, Vincent Kock, and Franco Mostert.
Coetzee made his debut for the Boks as a 21-year-old in a summer test against England in 2012 but had to be content with a place on the stand-by list for the 2015 World Cup in Japan.
Should he retain his place in the squad up to the World Cup, he could be in line to face several Ulster teammates, with Ireland and South Africa on a potential collision course in the quarterfinals.
South Africa were the featured team on last week's Land of the Rising Scrum, where we spoke to 1995 World Cup winner Kobus Wiese, and South African rugby writer Gavin Rich. You can listen back in full to the podcast here.
South Africa squad:
Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Rynardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions), Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions).
Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Dillyn Lleyds (DHL Stormers), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).
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