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This is our time believes Ulster skipper Johann Muller

Johann Muller talks to the Ulster players the Heineken Cup Pool 5 Round 6 clash

Johann Muller talks to the Ulster players the Heineken Cup Pool 5 Round 6 clash

If you could write the script then this season would end with Johann Muller holding the Heineken Cup or the RaboDirect PRO12 trophy at the front of an open deck bus on a celebration tour of Belfast.

It would be the perfect way for the South African lock to retire from professional rugby.

Two World Cups – one of them with a winner’s medal – and a key member of the Ulster Rugby revolution of the past four years, it would be the 34-year-old’s way to finish a glittering career on a high in the way every rugby player wants to.

But typically of the towering second row and Ulster skipper, he plays down his role as he prepares to lead the side into an historic game at Ravenhill on Saturday when they will meet Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

“It is not about me. It is about this club,” he insists.

“It is about the tradition and history of this club and what it has achieved in the past and where they want to go in the future.

“It has never been about a one, two or four-year plan, it is about a five, 10, 15, 20 or 25 year plan.

“What we see here now, the stadium, the new facilities, of course it is for now. But it is also for the next 25 years and beyond.”

Muller added: “To be part of that building phase with Ulster Rugby has been outstanding and while I am leaving at the end of the season the hunger is 100 per cent to want to win something and yes, go out on a high.

“But at the end of the day it is not about me. If it was my first of last game, the hunger is there.

“You want to win something, this squad wants to win something, this club wants to win something.

“We want to achieve something as a group and probably more than ever given we have come so close in the past in reaching Heineken Cup and PRO12 finals and losing.

“The group has been quite settled for the past four years and we have gone through the highs and lows in Europe and the league.

“We have knocked our heads once of twice, too many times about what we have to do to get over that final line.

“We have learned from those disappointments and that is the only way you learn, from making mistakes.

“It is important now that everything we have learned in the past years as a group we put into practice.

“After this we have some guys retiring or leaving and then it is rebuilding a squad again, almost starting all over again.

“We do not have any more time to learn. This is our time!” insisted Muller.

It will be a year to the day that Ulster lost to Saracens at the same stage in Europe at Twickenham.

“There were no excuses, on the day we were beaten by the better team,” said Muller, who was one of seven players at the time returning from long injury layoffs.

“We will be going out on Saturday to put on our best performance.

“If we are good enough we will win. If we do not win then we were not good enough on the day.

“As long as we leave nothing out there then we have done our best,” he added.

 

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