EUROPEAN RUGBY: Andrew Trimble excited to lead Ulster into Europe

Ulster captain Andrew Trimble
Ulster captain Andrew Trimble

Andrew Trimble will draw on all the experience he has around him on Sunday when he leads Ulster out for their opening European Champions Cup Pool Five game against French side Bordeaux.

The Irish winger is making his first appearance of the season for Ulster as well as captaining the side - a role he shares this season with Rob Herring.

With his co-captain on the bench Trimble will turn to other natural leaders on the pitch around him.

Rory Best, who has been captain twice at the club and others such as Jared Payne, Franco van Der Merwe and Paddy Jackson - who have all worn the armband on occasions - will provide additional leadership to Trimble.

The three-quarter has fully recovered from a niggling injury which has delayed his return - but he is now ready to go and admits there is no bigger stage to make your return.

Bordeaux could well take the full force of Trimble’s frustation at waiting for this moment to arrive.

“I have finally got here and I am really looking forward to getting the boots on. The lungs may take a hiding, but we will see how we go,” Trimble said before boarding the plane to Bordeaux yesterday.

“With it being a European game it makes the whole thing a little bit more exciting and it already would be, but it is a big step up.

“European Cup games is something everyone looks forward to and I have a lot of experience of them,” added Trimble who is Ulster’s most capped European player (65) and top try scorer (24).

That experience in Europe will prove crucial tomorrow to the side, but he has the added responsibility of captaining the side.

“I am so proud to be leading the side out,” said Trimble. “Yes it is demanding and it requires a lot of leadership and a big performance from me as well, so there is a bit of pressure.

“It is something I have not experienced before so I am really looking forward to that challenge.

“But I have plenty of senior players around me, but we have half a dozen captains out there.

“We are leading each other, there is a lot of shared ownership and that is what you have to have.

“We have a lot of riches in expeirence and leadership and I will call upon them and ask for a bit of advance along the way.”

Trimble is one of eight changes to the side which surrendered their unbeaten start to the season last week to Connacht in the PRO12.

But the Euro tie has come a week too early for New Zealand back Charles Piutau who is still recovering from concussion.