Muller pays tribute to Spence
September 18, 2012
Johann Muller has paid tribute to Nevin Spence © Getty Images
Ulster skipper Johann Muller has expressed his "heartfelt sympathy" to the family of Nevin Spence and has thanked the rugby community for their messages of support.
Spence tragically died on Saturday alongside his brother and father after falling into a slurry pit at a farm in County Down. The rugby community has since rallied around the Spence family and Ulster with various prominent figures paying tribute to the 22-year-old.
Ulster's match with Zebre on Friday has been postponed and grounds around the British & Irish isles will mark Spence's death with a moment of silence this weekend. Muller has paid tribute to Spence and insists that he will never be forgotten.
Muller's statement read: "On behalf of the entire Ulster Rugby squad, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the Spence family at this time. Nevin's loss will be felt deeply by us all. We are equally saddened by the tragic deaths of his father Noel and his brother Graham. The thoughts of every member of the squad are with Nevin's mother Essie, and his sisters Emma and Laura. We would also like to pass on our condolences to Graham's wife and children. We wish Emma a full and speedy recovery.
"Nevin Spence was a highly skilful and gifted rugby player. He was utterly committed to Ulster and was enormously proud to represent his province. He was determined to be the best that he could be and I have no doubt that he would have gone on to play for Ireland on many occasions. He was the kind of player that inspired others with his attitude in training and sheer will to win in matches.
"His positive outlook on life brought a smile to people's faces. He was kind, polite, generous and courageous, and we were blessed to have him in our team. The one comfort for us as a squad is that we have each other for support. It has been a difficult time for the players and coaches but I believe that through this tragic loss, we will have a new sense of togetherness.
"I and the rest of the Ulster Rugby squad would like to thank the many people who have sent messages of support to the club, not only from within the province, but throughout Ireland, Europe and the world. It is clear from these messages that Nevin was highly regarded by players and fans of many different sports, in many different countries.
"I would like to thank the organising committee of the RaboDirect PRO12 for postponing this weekend's game with Zebre and for allowing us the space and time to begin to come to terms with Nevin's loss.
"In the coming weeks, the Ulster Rugby team will return to the pitch. Over the course of the rest of this year and in future seasons we will experience wins and we will no doubt suffer defeats. Players will move on or retire and new players will come in and represent the Province. But going forward, at Ulster Rugby, one thing will never change. As long as this great club exists, the person and the player, Nevin Spence, will never be forgotten."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.
"I think the work I do in defence gets spoken of a little too much as it comes at the expense of what I do in attack." Brad Barritt talks to Tom Hamilton
The European Champions Cup: what's changed and what's new in the revamped competition previously known as the Heineken Cup?