Ulster captain Johann Muller — who played a major part in Stefan Terblanche’s decision to enlist at Ravenhill for the next three months — has described the in-coming South African as “a freak.”
The pair are close friends, having played together at the Sharks and the Springboks.
And Muller’s reaction to the capture of his 36-year-old pal — recruited as a stop-gap in response to the crisis that arose when New Zealander Jared Payne ruptured his Achilles tendon against Benetton Treviso — made it pretty obvious that he is delighted at what he sees as a hugely significant signature.
Having played for the Ospreys, four-and-a-half years ago Terblanche returned to his native South Africa where he has since starred for the Sharks.
Highlighting the 37 times-capped former Springboks full-back’s pedigree, Muller said: “Since Stefan came back from the Ospreys and the Sharks have played 104 matches and he has played in 101 of them.
“Yes, he’s 36-years-old, but I can tell you now that he will be the fittest player in our group — I can promise you that. He is a phenomenal rugby player, the most professional guy I’ve ever seen in my life and he will fit in unbelievably well in Belfast and in Ulster.
“He’s a freak, an absolute freak, which is why he’s still playing competitive rugby. To play 101 games out of 104 for the Sharks — we’re talking Super 14, Super 15, Currie Cup rugby — just confirms that he’s an unbelievable player.
“I’m really excited to have him here, not only because I’ve known him for 10 years, but because I know he will be really, really good for us as a player on and off the field.
“I have spoken to him a couple of times and he’s really excited. He can’t wait to come.
“He played 90 games for Ospreys and he loved his time there. So if he enjoyed it over there I’m sure he’ll enjoy it over here.
“If you see him in the next couple of weeks you’ll understand that he might be 36, but he can still play.”