Last season was one of missed opportunities for Dan Tuohy with both Ireland and Ulster - but he is keen to make amends in the new term.
The second row played in Ireland’s first two Six Nations games before injury curtailed his appearances for country and Province.
“Up to February everything was going quite nicely and then I broke my arm,” explained Tuohy.
“I had a few weeks out with that, came back to get some game time and then broke my hand the week before the Heineken Cup quarter game against Saracens.
“After I had an operation I was struggling to get my place back in the team,” added Tuohy.
“I captained the side down at Munster which wasn’t the first team and I had to come off with a knee injury and I never really regained the starting position and rightly so Hendy (Iain Henderson) jumped ahead of me.
“Mark (Anscombe) gave me the reason at the time and I was pretty annoyed, even if it was the right decision as I hadn’t got through 80 minutes for a while.
“It was a disappointing time for me personally. I had been pretty fortunate with injuries but that was probably the worst I’d had. I started the Six Nations and had to watch them win it which was tough.”
Having missed most of the business end of the season Tuohy also had to sit out Ireland’s tour to Argentina.
“I was disappointed not to go because I thought I could have. They only took three second rows had they taken four I would have been really disappointed. Joe (Schmidt)rang me a couple of hours before the squad was announced and said you’re not going to make it to Argentina I need to get you rest and get your fitness back.
“I’ve had a good amount of rest, the injuries have healed and the body feels good and hopefully I can get through another 25 plus games this season.”
Tuohy is looking forward to getting back out on the pitch after a surprisingly hard pre season.
“It’s gone good there have been a few new elements like ju jitsu, thankfully that has died down over the last few weeks, I enjoyed it over the first four weeks but constantly getting beaten up wasn’t that much fun for all the lads and the rest of the boys will be glad to see the back of it.”
“It does actually have some relevant to rugby, not choking lads but in tackling and a lot of things that we could use in rugby, it was new for us.”
“Les (Kiss) has come across and having worked with him at Ireland for the last five years it’s given me a good insight to what to expect from him and he has used his coaching philosophy from Ireland with us.
“That bodes well because if any the Ulster lads go down to the national squad they will know the intensity of training and it’s good for the boys in the squad to get used to that high level.”
Ulster will use another huge squad for the game in Dublin against Leinster on Saturday.
“When you lose a pre season game you don’t worry about it too much but if you win against Leinster.
“I don’t think it will have a massive impact on the league games and it certainly didn’t for them last year.
“I think it’s ideal preparation for us to go and play against a good Leinster side and it’s up to us to go down play hard and force yourself into the starting XV for the Scarlets.
“I would have liked to played against Exeter and get a hit out and I was surprised I wasn’t playing, pre season is eight weeks and the first game hits you like a ton of bricks.”
so I have to hit my 40 minutes and it’s a seven day turnaround until the Scarlets.”
Tuohy knows he is going to have to fight hard for his Ulster and Ireland place this season and is hoping a good run of form can earn him a world cup place.”
“There are boys hot on my heels, Franco has come in as a middle jumper and maybe I’ll share that role with him in some capacity as I did with Johann in the end, Hendy is switching between second row and six, he’s a cracking player so I can’t look too far ahead.
“November, Six Nations and world cup isn’t something I can control until I get a regular starting place In the squad and that has to start with me playing well in the first few rounds and when Hendy is fit to try and keep him out for the European games.
“It is ultimately the goal, it would be something to play in a world cup and it will be the last chance I get and to make that 30 man squad would be serious especially with it being in England, it’s 13 months and it would be hard to say I’ll make it, I have to get over this first bank of games and see where I am with Joe coming into November.”