Cape Town - Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee is excited at the prospect of playing for his new club Ulster.
Coetzee, 25, earlier this year signed a deal with the Irish club, but his debut will be delayed due to a knee injury.
His career at the Sharks came to an abrupt end in April when he a suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear, ruling him out for up to nine months.
The layoff means Coetzee will sit out the start of the European season, but he is confident he’ll be fit to feature for Ulster early next year.
"Ulster still had confidence in me after the injury, they said they still wanted me and they were going to help me. The club has had a few ACL problems here in the past and that gave me great confidence. I must thank Ulster for their support so far it has been really immense,” Coetzee told Ulster’s official website.
"The stadium is fantastic, and playing with the likes of Rory Best, Tommy Bowe and all the legends here is going to be a heartening experience and I just can't wait to get onto the pitch."
Regarding his injury, Coetzee said: "It is going very well so far. I have been rehabbing with the Sharks and Ulster are going to take over. It has been going very well and I haven't had any setbacks.
"When you come to a new club it's extra frustrating but there is a plan after that. I have grown immensely as an individual and conditioning wise I have been working on my weak areas. It is always tough to watch the guys playing and training but this tests your character and mental toughness as a person.
"This is my first serious injury; I had been very lucky but ultimately it caught up with me, but I'm feeling very positive about it. Having said that, it's very sad that I'm not making my debut earlier.
"I have to return to South Africa to sort a few things out but when I return in October I will be able to run and train with the team."
Coetzee won't be the first Sharks player to join the Irish club.
"I spoke to Ruan (Pienaar), Franco (van der Merwe), Wiehahn (Herbst) and Louis (Ludik) and all the guys that were here and we actually joked at the Sharks that Ulster is our second base," said Coetzee. "Speaking with the guys, they say Ulster is a very unique club and I wanted to be a part of that. Just being here for a couple of days and seeing the professionalism of the management staff and players has been great. It's been really welcoming and I'd like to thank everyone for that."
Coetzee has played 28 Tests for the Springboks since making his debut in 2012.