Mark Anscombe is relishing leading Ulster into another season after they reached the Pro12 final and the last eight of the Heineken Cup in his first year in the Ravenhill hot seat.
Ulster have largely the same squad of players from last year and after the pre season sparring has now finished the Kiwi just wants to get the league campaign to kick off.
“I’m excited but you’re always excited at the start of the year and we have worked hard for the last eight odd weeks, we’ve had a clean bill of health up to now and the players are looking forward to their first hit out and it will be a formidable one against the Dragons over there on their home turf,” said Anscombe.
“It is never easy over there for us and it will be a good challenge for us to get our season up and running from the start.
“We have been fortunate that we have had the good weather and only a little bit of rain, pre season has gone well and the squad is in good spirits and excited about the challenge.
“In the pre season games we just wanted to try a few things, it’s about getting game time because you can train and train but some guys you just need to get them out on the track and build up some mileage on the game clock, we have managed to do that and now we’ll look to what we need to do against the Dragons.”
Ulster won46-19 at Rodney Parade last season but the Dragons have changed their backroom staff and added to their playing squad.
“The Dragons have strengthened their squad and strengthened their coaching department and it is going to be a good oul battle royal over there in Newport.
“Our away form was good last year and the challenge this year is to match that, each year teams with get better and stronger from their recruitment so last year counts for nothing, it’s a fresh season and we just have to concentrate on preparing for the Dragons.”