Gysbert Johannes Muller, to give the Ulster skipper his official moniker, reckons the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday is the biggest game of his rugby life.
The reason? His mother and father along with his best buddy have made the effort and left the busy family farm near Mossel Bay on the Western Cape to take flight north of the equator.
The mixed farm of cattle, sheep and ostrich along with a few hundred hectares of wheat thrown in for good measure, will be looked after by his brother while the rest of the clan head to London via Belfast.
Accompanied over on the flight to Belfast by the relations of Stefan Terblanche and Ruan Pienaar, they landed yesterday and immediately got into the swing of things and sampling the atmosphere around the team.
“They are all really excited about this final,” said Muller, who has been involved in 11 serious finals including the Currie Cup with the Sharks back in 2008, but none, he says as big as this one.
“My Mum Johlene is brilliant in baby-sitting six-month old Juann in Belfast, while my Dad Quintus and his best friend along with my wife Malika and daughter Anja head to Twickenham. I have no doubt Mum will be glued to the television set with a bagful of nerves.
“I am so pleased that they have taken the time, and made the effort, it means a lot to me,” said Muller, who said the Currie Cup finals, Super 24 shoot-outs, and even a World Cup decider now pale into significance.
“Without a doubt, Saturday’s final is right up there, well it’s probably the biggest. During the World Cup I was on the periphery of the South African team, and was on the bench for the final.
“This is different, I’m captaining a team that has striven hard to get where we are. It has indeed been a real team effort and personally I’m so excited, particularly with family and friends making the effort to come over.
“Leinster will be under a little bit more pressure than us. They are overwhelming favourites, and we havereally nothing to lose. That will certainly be the thoughts of the media and the public.
“But from our point of view as a group of players and backroom staff, we have one big goal and one only and that is to go to Twickenham and win.”
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