Published Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Nevin Spence, who died on his family's farm, in action for Ulster. (© Getty)
The 22-year-old died with his father and brother after an accident at a slurry tank on the family farm in Hillsborough on Saturday.
Nevin had worked his way through the Ulster Academy, which he joined in 2008, before making his competitive debut for the senior squad in 2010, at the age of 19.
Muller described Nevin as a highly skilful and gifted player, who had the potential to play for Ireland.
"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," he added, adding that the young player was "kind, polite, generous and courageous".
"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."
Ulster's Pro12 match against Italian side Zebre, which was due to take place on Friday night, has been postponed following Nevin's death, which Muller hoped would give the squad "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," explained Muller.
"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.
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.
Meanwhile, all Pro12 matches that go ahead this weekend will observe a minutes silence in memory of Nevin, his father and brother.
Tributes have been left at Ravenhill for the young player, his brother Graham and father Noel, where fans placed flowers, hung shirts and scarves and signed the books of condolence.
The ground will be open from 9am to 5pm every day this week for those wishing to express their sympathy, with many people - including the First and deputy First Ministers and Ian Paisley - already adding to the tributes.
"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," said the South African who joined Ulster in 2010.
Nevin's sister Emma, who tried to rescue her father and brothers from the slurry tank, survived the tragedy and was treated in hospital for the effects of breathing in fumes. Johann Muller said the squad was "saddened" by the deaths, and wished Emma, an artist, a speedy recovery.