Johann Muller holds on to Rabo PRO12 dream

Ulster captain Johann Muller says farewell to the fans at Ravenhill
Ulster captain Johann Muller says farewell to the fans at Ravenhill

Win, lose or draw it was always going to be an emotional night for Ulster’s inspirational captain as he played his final game at Ravenhill against Leinster on Friday.

In spite of being reduced to 14 men for 64 minutes after Tom Court was red carded for a ‘tip tackle’, Muller’s men gained the one match point they needed in the 22-20 defeat to earn a place in the play offs.

“It was a tough one, I went through ups and downs,” said Muller.

“I got a couple of text messages before the game - that didn’t help.

“Then I drove Ruan to the game and he was emotional and that didn’t help,” smiled Muller

“Then I got here and felt quite good and then when I came back in from the warm-up and then when I saw my two kids and my wife that was a very special time.

“I really enjoyed the evening and the reception from the crowd at the back end of the game was something to treasure for the rest of my life.

“I said to my wife I really want to enjoy this, when I left the Sharks four years ago I knew I was still going to play for a few years but I knew this was the final.

“After the next few weeks and the final I’m going to be an ex-rugby player so I really wanted to enjoy it and even though we lost I was so grateful for the day.”

Muller, who was named Ulster Rugby Heineken Personality of the Year 24 hours after the match, was pleased with Ulster’s performance as they dug deep and only lost by a couple of points to the reigning champions.

“We’re getting quite good at this with 14 players. It doesn’t make it any easier it’s another two-pointer exactly the same as with Saracens.

“I couldn’t have been prouder of the effort but in saying that you’re not going to win anything with 14 against 15.

“We’ve got to make sure that when we get to the play-offs that we really have a good look at ourselves from a discipline point of view and try to get everyone out in the field for 80 minutes.

“There were two guys involved in the tackle which makes it easier to pull the guy across but I’m biased,” was Muller’s view on the Court sending off.

“I couldn’t believe our luck and in my whole career I don’t think I’ve ever played in a side where we’ve had a red card.

“We’ve done that twice in the last couple of weeks and against Glasgow we also had to play with 14 men so it’s truly a testing season from that point of view but from a character point of view hats off to the boys.”

“To lose by two points to a full strength Leinster side, massive credit to the boys.”

Ulster will access their strategy for the final game against Munster during the week.

“We can’t make the top three anymore.

“We have to wait and see who we are likely to play yet, but we will sit down on Monday and make a decision on what is best to do.

“At least we still have something to look forward to.”