RaboDirect Pro12: Ulster captain Johann Muller to retire at the end of the season
Ulster captain Johann Muller has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
Last Updated: 06/02/14 4:02pm
The South Africa international joined Ulster from the Sharks in 2010 has made 73 appearances for the Irish province.
Muller, who won 24 caps for the Springboks and was part of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad, was appointed Ulster captain at the start of the 2011/12 season.
The 34-year-old led Ulster to the final of the Heineken Cup in 2012 and the Pro12 final last season, with Ulster losing both games to Leinster.
"I still believe that I am playing well enough but I just feel from my body's point of view that the time is right to step away," said Muller.
"I have enjoyed my time at Ulster so much. The last four years have possibly been the best of my rugby career. My family has been so happy here and we have been made to feel really welcome in Belfast.
"There is still a lot of rugby to be played. Nothing has changed for me. Every time that I take to the field I want to win.
"I am excited about these last four months, about where we are as a team and what we are capable of achieving."
Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys added: "Johann has been an outstanding player for Ulster Rugby.
"He is everything you want from a captain - he leads from the front, he is exceptionally committed and he is an inspiration to everyone else around him.
"I remember very clearly sitting with him in Durban, outlining the vision that I had for the team and for Ulster Rugby.
"He has been the catalyst for the huge strides that we have made in recent years and has made an immense contribution to the Province, both on and off the pitch.
"I know that over the next four months that he will be more determined than ever to help deliver success to Ulster and that he will be aiming to end his career on a high."
Ulster wing Andrew Trimble added: "Johann's going to be very, very difficult to replace. He's a leader, a great lad off the pitch and everybody looks up to him.
"He's been enormous for the club, we've got a few leaders in there, but as our captain he's the guy.
"He produces a massive amount of motivation for the guys, he sets standards
"He's a really good influence for all of us, experienced Irish internationals in there and young guys coming through too, and he's going to be massively missed.
"Hopefully maybe we could pull a rabbit out of the hat and try to find someone to replace him."