South African lock Johann Muller last night took over as Ulster’s new rugby captain, insisting his Ravenhill leadership role means as much as World Cup involvement with the Springboks.
Popular Muller takes over from Rory Best who is expected to be heavily involved with the Ireland squad at the World Cup, starting next month.
Muller spent July with the 49-man Springbok World Cup squad before landing back in Belfast last week after picking up a hamstring injury.
“If I don't get picked for South Africa again, if I don't get picked for the World Cup, that's fine with me,” he said. “I've got a great challenge ahead over here, especially with the captaincy.
“However, if I do get a call up that would be fantastic, and I would be honoured to go to another World Cup and play another game for my country. Whichever comes my way I'm a true believer everything happens for a reason.”
Muller will also assist the Ulster coaching team in respect of forward play after Jeremy Davidson’s surprising departure at the end of last season.
“I think it's going to be a much tougher season, a lot of pressure and a lot responsibility as well and I'm excited about that,” Muller said.
“I enjoy the leadership role. Rory has done an outstanding job as captain and if I can do as good a job as he has, I'll be a happy man.”