Marcell Muller was named our first ever MVP winner and for good reason, the young winger was in our opinion a breakout player during the 2019 season. Having started in the Grey College Cherries (Second Team) Marcell worked his way up to becoming a regular starter for the Bloem giants.
NextGenXV recently got in touch with Marcell and after a year of ups and downs that started in France with Montpellier he is back in South Africa and we find out where to next for this future star.
You were named our MVP player for 2019, your performances were simply outstanding. You started off the year as a reserve and in our opinion ended it as one of the best wingers in the country. What goals did you have at the start of the season?
At the start of the season like all the boys at the school my ultimate goal was to obviously play in the first team, eventually with some hard work and luck I got there. I also wanted to improve as much as I could as a player so that I could pursue rugby as a career, something that was always a dream of mine.
Our video of your highlights reel went viral notching up tens of thousands of views, what impact did that have on you?
It had a huge impact, it really got my name out there and it was viewed all over the world. I think NextGenXV did an awesome job on the video and I credit it a lot with helping me.
We heard via the grapevine that you had offers in multiple countries. Where did you have the option of playing?
There were two rugby league teams in Australia that showed interest and then I received interest from the Brumbies and the Rebels as well. There was also an opportunity to move to Japan to play rugby and to study and then finally there were options in France with Auriliac and of course Montpellier.
How was your time in France? How did you find the rugby culture there? What did you enjoy about the country and what challenges did you face?
I would never trade the experience for anything as I grew as a person and it really did help me mature faster. The rugby culture in France was a more physical game and the ball wasn’t thrown around as much as it is in South Africa. The biggest challenge I faced was the language barrier but we managed to get by and I am confident had I stayed longer I would of gained a grasp of the language. The thing I will no doubt miss about the country were the pastries and the café culture, there is a small coffee shop on just about every street corner.
What made you come back home and why choose the Cheetahs specifically?
The lockdown due to the C19 didn’t make things easy and when I looked at my pathway I felt there was potential to be blocked as there are in my opinion too many wings on the books at Montpellier. I chose to move back to the Cheetahs mainly due to familiarity as I know the area and if you look at the Cheetahs track record of youth development it is second to none, it just made sense to take them up on their offer and I haven’t looked back.
Obviously the lockdown changed things for everyone and goals need to be re-aligned. What are your goals for the 2021 season?
I need to have a successful Under 20 tournament next year which I am training hard for, I believe the Cheetahs can go all the way as we have a talented group and great coaches. I want to stand out enough and reach my ultimate goal which would be selection to the Baby Boks team.
What are your long term goals?
The thing I have learnt while talking to the senior players is that one must always prepare for life after rugby. My aim would be to get a degree and to be the best player I can and to help inspire others.
There seems to be something special about that Grey College jersey, where the boys put it on and somehow perform at that extra level. What makes Grey College such a special school?
At all schools there is the dream to play for the first team, it is an honour no matter how big or small your school is but I think what makes Grey different is the history and tradition of that jersey and the brotherhood that is formed after many years of playing together. It is more than just playing for the first team, you have a responsibility to your brother next to you and to all the supporters and the boys singing in the stands, the Grey College jersey is never about the individual it is about the community and that feeds the soul of the team. When you enter the changing room you look at the names on the wall and you see how many great players have worn the jersey before you then you become humbled and realize that you are just a small part of something far bigger than yourself and I believe that is what inspires the players to keep fighting until the final whistle.
Who have been your biggest influences during your rugby career?
Without a doubt it has been my parents, they have believed in me and supported me from day one and I would have never got to where I am not without them.