With a new two-year deal done and dusted Kiwi Nick Williams has set his sights on helping Ulster ending their 14 year Heineken Cup drought and he isn’t worried about the uncertainty over the tournament.
“Whatever happens will happen, as a player my family has settled here and I’m happy to have put pen to paper,” said Williams.
“You’re always happy to stay where you’re happy and for the last season that was Belfast and I’m looking forward to the next three.
“I’m probably not playing the best footie I want to or capable of playing but it is good to have the contract behind me and hopefully I can play to the best of my ability on Friday night.”
Williams knows that Ulster will have to step up their Pro12 performances to beat the Tigers.
“We all know it’s the best of Europe but we are careful not to over step the mark, we gradually grow throughout the week intensity wise and hopefully bring it out 100 per cent as we run out of the tunnel.
“There is no other way you would like it than to start against Leicester they are English Premiership champions and they are one of the best teams in Europe.
“It’s a good challenge for us and I had the pleasure of watching the Ulster boys when I wasn’t here beat them thoroughly the last two times and I’m hoping for a similar score on Friday.
“You always want to start the European Cup with a win and there is the added pressure as we are playing at home and playing such a quality side, we are concentrating and focusing on giving 100 per cent against the Tigers.”
“They have a very big and solid set piece pack, they will be backing themselves there, we’ve looked at they set piece and they are traditionally strong there, there are little avenues where we’ll try tom break down their set piece and hopefully turn it to a positive.”
“The first game is the biggest and then everything else will look after itself.”
Ulster played some of their best rugby against Glasgow and lost yet against the Ospreys it wasn’t pretty and they came away with the win and Williams feels it’s the sign of a good side that can grind out victories.
“It’s a bit similar to last season, Glasgow did to us what we did to the Ospreys with a smash and grab, those are the kind of games where you can’t train, you can’t teach character or attitude, we very happy to come from 12-0 down to beat them by six points and Jackie (Paddy Jackson) was on great form off the tee.”
“Leading into the Heineken Cup games it’s a decent way to go in, everyone is positive the camp is buzzing and we’re looking forward to a big one.”
Ulster had 14 points after the first three pool games last season and although they topped the group Mar Anscombe’s men missed out on a home quarter final.
“You always look at the seasons before and say that lessons can be learnt and whether we want to learn them or not is dependent on the Tigers game, hopefully we have and can take a couple of steps further.”
Williams is looking for a big personal performance against the Tigers.
“I probably haven’t had the best couple of games at the start of the season but what other game would you want to play in to try and right the wrongs than the first Heineken Cup game against one of the better teams in Europe.”