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We’re Ready To Get Out There And Play – Muller

We’re Ready To Get Out There And Play – Muller

After a particularly difficult couple of weeks, Ulster will resume their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign away to the Cardiff Blues on Friday night.

The match marks Ulster’s first run-out since their 22-year-old centre Nevin Spence died alongside his father Noel and brother Graham in a tragic accident on the family farm on Saturday, September 15.

The province’s captain Johann Muller knows ‘Nev’ will be looking down from above, willing his team-mates to continue their winning start to this season’s league.

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“To speak to Nevin’s mum and sisters last Sunday (at the memorial service at Ravenhill), the strength and comfort they have shown was an absolute eye opener,” said the South African second row.

“I was standing there in tears and Nevin’s sister was patting me on the back saying, ‘it will be alright’.

“That tells me about the quality of the people they are, how strongly they believe in their faith and how it has really helped them through this really tough time.

“It has been very personal and it has been really tough, but if Nev was here right now he would want us to move on and get back on the horse and start going again.

“Like I said in my statement last week, as long as Ulster Rugby exists Nev will never been forgotten.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe as his side look to build on their earlier wins over Glasgow Warriors, the Ospreys and Munster.

“The lads feel comfortable around each other and they know they are amongst friends – it’s easier for them to be together,” explained Anscombe, who is expected to include Tommy Bowe for his much-anticipated return in Ulster colours.

“The support we have received from the rest of the rugby community is amazing. We respect everything that has happened but we have a job to do.

“We have to move on and perform well, as Nevin would have wanted. We must go to Cardiff and carry on with the job in hand.”

Muller and the entire Ulster squad have drawn comfort from the strength and unity shown by the Spence family during this difficult time, and are fiercely determined to honour Nevin in the most fitting way possible – by playing rugby.

“We’re not going to go out there and say we’re going to win every single game for Nevin. That’s just humanly impossible,” he remarked.

“There are going to be great wins and there’s going to be terrible defeats, and that’s just the nature of rugby. But the one thing we can do is that we can go out there and play rugby with a smile on our faces.

“We can enjoy what we do and we can really appreciate that we have the ability to still play rugby, be alive and enjoy what this world has to offer.”

Meanwhile, in injury news, Ireland Under-20 international Chris Farrell will not be part of Ulster’s plans for the rest of the season.

The 19-year-old centre/winger tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Ulster Under-20s’ Grand Slam-clinching win over Munster in Cork last Friday.

Farrell requires surgery and will have to wait to add to the three Ulster senior caps he has won since making his debut against Leinster last December.