Ulster captain Johann Muller wants grandstand finish on home turf
Ulster captain Johann Muller wants a grandstand finish on home turf on Friday — in more ways than one.
The Ravenhill men want a vociferous home crowd to roar them on as they aim for a place in the RaboDirect PRO12 final at the expense of the visiting Scarlets.
But this is also the last match at Ravenhill before the iconic 89-year-old grandstand is pulled down as part of the redevelopment programme.
And Muller would certainly like the sell-out evening to be remembered for all the right reasons.
The big Springbok’s CV may include leading South Africa against the All Blacks in the course of a stellar rugby career, but the chance of lifting the PRO12 trophy with Ulster genuinely excites him.
“This is why we play rugby — for matches like this,” said Muller.
“To have finished top of this league after 22 matches is good.
"But there are no trophies for it. We need to go all the way, to finish the job.
“That is why this match is the most important of our year; if we are to win a trophy we must win this game.”
He added: “It’s knock-out rugby now and if we lose we cannot win anything.
"Success gets measured by trophies, so while we have improved and have done really well as a side, at the end of that we have nothing to show for it.
“We want to put ourselves in a situation where we play in a final.
"As a team and as individuals, we want a trophy,” Muller insisted.
This is Ulster’s second PRO12 semi-final in three seasons, but things are very different than in 2011 when they qualified in third and had to face second-placed Leinster at the RDS as a result.
This time they have finished top of the pile, entitling them to a Ravenhill semi-final pairing with a side they have beaten home and away this season.