Andrew Trimble made his season’s bow from the bench in the victory at the Ospreys last Saturday and now the Irish winger is raring to go as unbeaten Munster visit Ravenhill on Friday night.
“I would have loved to have played in one or two matches to feel my way in and to just get rid of a few cobwebs and just to get some practice and a bit of familiarity with the way we are going to be playing, “ said Trimble.
“At the weekend I felt a little bit out of practice and I only got 20 minutes and it was really difficult to get into it but I feel a lot of the benefits of having a long pre season.”
“I think six weeks pre season is about right for me, I feel fitter than I was this time last year, I feel like I’m in good shape and I’m going well and hopefully that will transfer onto the pitch.”
With a new coach in place Trimble would have liked to have played some part in the warm up games especially as Ulster remained unbeaten.
“In a prefect world you wold have had your six weeks pre season then get into a couple of friendlies but that’s not possible as there is only so much time before the season starts and you just have to make do but I feel good for it so I just have to look at the positives.”
“I’d like to hit the ground running this weekend and hopefully after one or two games in I’ll be peaking.”
“There is a lot of quality and a lot of the young guys have done really well, even the likes of Chris Farrell who is playing outstanding gets dropped and is back with the U20’s, that’s how much competition there is and that’s how high the standard is when someone is playing as well as that and has nothing to show for it.”
Ulster have won both opening games although the were made to work hard at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday when Paul Marshall’s late try completed a smash and grad raid to bag the four points.
“If you get off to a couple of good wins at the start it really sets up your season regardless of who you’re playing or where you are although when you’re away at the Ospreys you want to get it out of the way, get a win and get out of there and that’s what we did and we were very clinical in scoring the try at the end and finishing off the game,” said Trimble.
“I think we deserved the win but there was a lot of things we did poorly so I think we need to look at a lot of stuff and work hard.”
“It’s great that we have built up a bit of momentum going into Munster at home.”
Ulster welcome back Chris Henry and Dan Tuohy to their squad for the game while Munster have Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara and Keith Earls available and Trimble believes that will add to the occasion.
“It’s going to be tough and it’s unlike an Ulster against Munster match in the league to be two full strength teams.”
“At Thomond Park in the Heineken Cup quarter final last season you knew it was going to be more of a spectacle and more of an occasion, on Friday the standard is going to be high and it will be a great game to watch and play in, it will be intense, feisty, physical and fast and they are all things that hopefully we can bring to this game.”
“I think any Inter-Pro game or any derby is special just because of the rivalry, the history and the competition, it just means more to beat these guys than it means to be other teams like the Scottish are Welsh teams.”
“That’s just the way it is and it’s the same in all sports, we have fully bought into that and we have a decent record against Munster over the last few years and hopefully we can keep that going.”
Munster will come to Belfast looking for revenge for the Heineken Cup quarter final defeat to Ulster even though they comprehensively won the league game between the sides a month later.
“It would be great to win to reinforce the quarter final result but we are under no illusion about how good Munster are and about how much quality they bring.”
“We know Munster inside out and they have made a few changes having brought in new centres and as outside backs we’ll be looking at that but by and large we know what way they play, what type of game they want to play and we just have to do something to match that and hopefully we’ll bring it on Friday.”
“When you train with them you know them very well so they’ll know our weaknesses and we’ll know theirs and likewise with the strengths, it’s just a case of working hard and trying to break down their weaknesses.”
“We know these guys so well and there is going to be a massive emphasis on how much intensity we bring to the game.”
With Ulster reaching the Heineken Cup final last season many people would now see them as the second Irish province but Trimble doesn’t believe it’s that simplistic.
“I think every new season people have pre conceived ideas of a pecking order in Irish rugby in their heads, I think it is important every year to set that straight.”
“We have a new coach, new players and everything is different to last year, the best teams out there prove the point year in and year out.”
“We proved a small point last year but we certainly want to be more ambitious than we were last year and we want to take it a step further and we have set out this year to do that, ultimately we want to be the best team in Ireland but that is tough because the competition is so fierce.”