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Ulster sign Springbok lock

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Feb 2010

Ulster Rugby have signed South African international lock Johann Muller on a two-year contract.

Muller will arrive in the province at the end of the 2010 Super 14 competition and will join-up with the Ulster Squad on July 1.

One of the leading lock forwards in South Africa, the 29-year-old Muller currently plays for the Natal-based Sharks and has represented the Springboks on 23 occasions, his final appearance being against the British and Irish Lions last summer.

Standing at 6’7"and weighing 114kg, the Mossel Bay-born powerhouse made his provincial debut for the Sharks in 2003, going on to make his Super 14 debut against the Hurricanes later that season. 

Muller was awarded his first Springbok cap against Scotland in 2006, captained South Africa against New Zealand in 2007 and also appeared in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

Muller has made over 130 appearances for the Sharks and captained the side during the 2008 and 2009 Super 14 competition. He also led the Sharks to Currie Cup victory in 2008.

"Ulster Rugby is looking forward to welcoming another world class South African forward to Belfast for the next two seasons," said director of rugby operations David Humphreys.

"A lineout specialist and respected captain, Johann will add a hard edge to a pack that, under Brian McLaughlin and Jeremy Davidson, has become increasingly competitive over the past few months.

"A lot has been spoken about the potential and the youth of this current Ulster squad and we are committed to signing foreign players who, like Johann, have the ability to improve our performances on the pitch but also help develop these young players into Ulster and Ireland stars of the next decade."

Speaking about his move to Ulster, Johann Muller said: "My family (wife Mariska and one-year-old daughter Anja) and I are really looking forward to our new life in Ulster, and reuniting with my old friend BJ (Botha) and his family.

"I am very excited by this opportunity to play for a club with such a rich rugby tradition and awesome support.

"My 12 years with the Sharks in Durban, have been unforgettable and I know that my years at Ulster have many more wonderful memories in store for me. 

"I would like to thank my current CEO Brian van Zyl, and his management, for their support in my decision and to David Humphreys for inviting me to Ulster and portraying the passion of the club. I look forward to meeting you all in July at Ravenhill."