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Terblanche happy to guide Ulster’s next generation

Guinness PRO12 Editor

19 Apr 2012

At the age of 36 it’s fair to say that Stefan Terblanche has been around the block a few times and the Ulster full-back admits his impact at the Irish outfit should be measured both on and off the pitch.

The South African, who signed on a short term deal in December as cover for the injured Jared Payne, has made a real impression since his arrival at Ravenhill.

Nine appearances and three tries in the RaboDirect PRO12 only tell half the story for the former Osprey who was convinced to join Ulster by compatriot and club captain Johann Muller.

And Terblance admits that he gets just as much satisfaction from passing on his experiences to help develop the next generation of Ulster stars.

“I’d never want to stand in the way of a young local guy getting on the team and coming through the ranks,” he said.

“Our role as overseas players is not just on the pitch, it’s off-field as well and it’s good sometimes for the guys to see how we train down south, things we do differently.

“I think that’s very important. Yes we have to perform on the field but for me it’s most important to help to develop young players.

“In Ulster there’s a lot of growth and depth just now. There’s a lot of competition for places and that brings out the best in any player.

“I would like to leave knowing that the young fullbacks and wingers that I have played with here are better players because of something, even just something small that they’ve picked up from me.”

But it’s not all passing on pearls of wisdom for the former Springbok as Ulster enter the business end of the season competing on two fronts.

Currently fifth in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with two rounds to go and a Heineken Cup semi-final against Edinburgh on the horizon there has hardly been a better time to be a Ulster player.

And Terblanche admits that he couldn’t be more excited about the season run-in before bringing down the curtain on much-decorated rugby career.

“I’ve been fortunate during my career that I’ve made good decisions, be it through my own knowledge of the game or sometimes just pure luck and it’s a wonderful time to be a player with Ulster,” he added.

“There's a great feeling about the team and we have an excellent support with many going to make the trip to Dublin for the semi-final.

“There’s so much excitement about the games coming up and I’m enjoying my rugby as much now at the end of my career that I did at the start.”