Andrew Trimble went from being over looked by Ireland in the autumn to being nominated for the Six Nations player of the tournament.
Ulster consistent flying winger scored three tires in five matches to help Ireland win the championship.
“It has been a great experience, for me I didn’t know how many chances I would get but I got that one and I took it,” said Trimble.
“We had a few guys involved and hopefully we can bring that mind set back to Ulster and we have a great opportunity this weekend to produce something special and hopefully we can make it count.”
“I thought I would get another chance with Ireland after the autumn, I thought Joe rated me a bit higher than previously but I hadn’t been playing well for Ulster at the start of the season so it didn’t surprise me that I wasn’t involved.”
“I started to get a little bit of momentum around Christmas time and in January through the Heineken games and I felt I was performing well and I got my opportunity.”
“It’s up to me to work hard at the start of the week so I can perform at the weekend.”
Trimble admits Schmidt can be a hard task master but that’s why he gets results.
“Joe puts you under pressure at the start of the week in training sometimes you get caught out and make mistakes you get a hard time and sometimes it’s an unpleasant place to be but it gets you ready for a test match.”
“The Ireland environment is hard to develop but it is something we can bring back here and a lot of things we can take from it.”
Trimble knows Ulster must drastically improve from last week’s performance in Cardiff.
“Last weekend was disappointing and we just didn’t turn up, physicality wasn’t where it needed to be, our intensity was nowhere near where it will need to be this weekend and maybe we had one eye on Saracens hopefully we can right those wrongs.”
“Saracens are very clever, physical and organised, they do a lot of things right we are going to have our hands full but hopefully we can go out and do the job.”
Trimble is relishing the clash with the Sarcens backline.
“Those guys (Chris Ashton) (David Strettle) score tries for fun, they are power, fast and very effective with ball in hand, we have to do enough homework to anticipate that with the pace they have that we are a step ahead and make sure you’re in the right place at the right time.”
“Jared, Tommy and myself are going to have are hands full with their kicking game and if it does get into kicking game the likes of Ruan and Jackie need to know what they are at as well, we’ve a lot of work to do but we’re looking forward to it.”
Trimble is hoping Ulster have learned their lesson from last year when they tamely when out to Saracens at the same stage.
“We didn’t turn up, we didn’t perform and I think we were maybe daunted by the environment and the occasion, it was strange for us because usually on those big occasions it brings the best out of us as it did in Montpellier and Leicester.”
“It’s going to be a big occasion this weekend with the new standing opening it’s a big opportunity for us and hopefully we can make it count.”
There is one thing Trimble was envious about Sarcens while the Ulster squad did a bit of team bonding by going paint balling in Moneymore the English side were in New York.
“It will be a good thing getting away and getting all the boys together and I’d imagine it would be very beneficial , maybe Humps could be persuaded to put his hand in his pocket,” joked Trimble.
“They seem very creative in their team building activities and I think that is reflective in their performances because they are doing well at the minute, they all seem on the page and maybe because so many are away with England it is maybe good to get them away and get them nice and tight and I imagine it’s a positive.”
Ulster have won 17 of their last 18 games in the Heineken Cup at Ravenhill and with the new look stadium with it’s increased capacity staging a match for the first time on Saturday Trimble wants the result to match the occasion.
“With the excitement around this weekend I think there will be a massive buzz and I think it is going to be special and hopefully we can produce the performance.”
“There is a big advantage being a home, Northampton caught us out last year and we produced a performance that day that was similar to Cardiff last week and you just can’t do that.”
“It’s important to get a balance in confidence of the side we are the performances and results we have got this season but at the same time being aware of how big a threat Saracens are.”
“Saracens are a bigger threat than most of those games we have played over the last few years at Ravenhill so it is a big ask.”
Jonny Bell was one of the heroes of 1999 who lifted the Europe and as Trimble went to the same school as the Ulster assistant coach he is always someone he looked up to.
“Every open night every year in Coleraine Inst we watched the 1992 cup final where Jonny just made breaks, he was the golden child of Ulster schools rugby at the time everybody hero worshiped him , I’ve seen that video so many times I’m a bit sick of it.”
“He was inspirational for me growing up and he came up and coached us once or twice , he’s done a great job and it will be nice to do something special with him this weekend.”
“Everybody has a lot of time and values the input he makes it’s a good environment with the coaches we have and Dinger is doing a good job.”