It has been a frustrating few weeks for young Ulster winger, Michael Allen.
Topping the RaboDirect PRO12 try scoring charts at the end of the break for the Heineken Cup the soon to be 23-year-old found himself demoted to the bench for the European pool matches against Leicester Tigers and Montpellier.
Andrew Trimble had recovered from a hand injury and the 50-capped Irish international went straight into the starting team against Leicester.
It can be tough for a young player to deal with the situation where he had played in five straight matches and in spite of being top try scorer in the club ends up being a replacement in two of the biggest games early season.
But it is testament to the character and the way Allen has matured as a young man in the past year as to how he had dealt with it all.
Had the former MCB lad not had a ‘flipper moment’ against Glasgow and saw a foot just agonisingly touch the whitewash against Benetton Treviso, he would have been clear at the top of the try scoring charts.
Against Treviso he would probably have scored a hat-trick - he went on to score two more tries that evening as he put to bed the disappointment of dropping a pass against Glasgow which had he held would have seen him score a try and Ulster go on and take a win instead of losing to a last gasp try, 13-12.
“I did beat myself up a bit about that,” admitted Allen.
“I just flippered the pass from Rob Herring. I was really gutted.
“There was a bit of banter from the other guys, but it was lighthearted and it helps you get through it. I took it on the chin and moved on.”
He added: “Mark (Anscombe) took me to the side as he does at training sessions with players before the Connacht game and told me that I had played well bar the drop.
“He told me it was something I needed to work on. It is not about saying I am never going to do that again.
“It is about saying to yourself I am not going to have the lead up to that again. I was watching their line coming across to cover and not the ball.
“Mark said it was a mistake, people make them, but get on from it and learn from it.”
Allen recovered quickly, had a stormer against Connacht and put the memory behind him by scoring a try.
As for having to yield for the Heineken Cup games, Allen said he had no issues.
“Of course I wanted to play in them, but when you have people like Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble competing with you for the places, then you can have no agruments.
“Tommy had been out injured at the start of the season and I played. Then Andrew was injured. It was a case of making the most of the opportunities.”
Allen is back in the starting XV for the trip to Wales to face Scarlets tomorrow evening.
“I am delighted to be involved again. I got some game time in the Heineken which was great for my experience of big games.
“Now I have to focus on going out and do what I was doing in the games leading up to Europe.
“Everyone knows that nowadays the professional game is about a squad not just the starting XV and I have to make the most of my next opportunity.”