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Ulster's Marcell Coetzee has played his final game for the province.

The South African number 8 had been due to finish his five-year spell at the club at the end of the season, before returning home to join the Bulls.

However, with the 29-year-old currently out injured with a hamstring issue, the Irish side have agreed to release him from his deal at the end of April, two months ahead of schedule.

It means Marcell Coetzee's final act in an Ulster jersey was his try-scoring performance in March's 38-19 defeat to Leinster last month.

In total, the Springbok scored 15 tries in his 57 games for the province, a figure which almost certainly would have been far higher had it not been for two career-threatening knee injuries in his first two seasons in Belfast.

Despite being under contract at Ulster until the summer of 2022, it was confirmed in December that the number 8 would be returning to his home country at the end of this season, before inking a three-year deal at the Bulls.

And with the latest injury setback requiring a period of rehabilitation, Ulster have confirmed this morning that this year's PRO14 Player of the Season has been granted early release, which will happen at the end of this month.

"We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.

"I’d like to thank Marcell for his contribution to the province over the past five years and we wish him and wife, Chanelle the very best for their upcoming return home to South Africa," their statement says.

Dan McFarland's side will be without Coetzee for their crack at Challenge Cup success; they face Leicester Tigers away from home at the end of April in the last four, with Montpellier or Bath awaiting in the final in May.

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