Sam Windsor is hoping he can make a bigger impact in his second spell in Ireland than his first one back in 2013.
The 27-year-old Australian fly-half joined Ulster over the summer from then English Championship side Worcester Warriors.
The 27-year-old, who is Ireland-qualified through his parents, has agreed a one-year contract and will arrive at Kingspan Stadium in July.
He had a short-term contract with Leinster in 2013, but was hampered by injury and ineligibility.
He suffered more bad luck when he joined the Warriors last season when he dislocated a shoulder scoring a try in his first game.
Ulster snapped up Windsor on a one year contract and he is hoping to make a fresh start beginning against his former club Leinster at the Kingspan Stadium tonight (7.30pm).
“Hopefully this stint will be longer than the last one,” said Windsor.
“I enjoyed my time in Ireland. It was only 18 months ago but seems an eternity ago,
“I came over here at the end of June and pre-season has been fun. It’s been tough but enjoyable at the same time.
“I’ve been working hard towards Friday night’s game and the season and hopefully we can start off on the right foot,” he added.
“I’m just keen to play as I haven’t played since November last year so it has been a long journey for me back from injury and getting back to where I want to be.
“At Leinster I came over a week too late to qualify for the British and Irish Cup but fortunately I was in an environment to learn of players like Brian O’Driscoll, Jimmy Gopperth and Ian Madigan.
“I was fortunate enough to have that but it would have been good to get more game time and experience the PRO12 properly.”
“Having said that I’m not going into the PRO12 blind this year. I have an idea of what to expect, what the game is like and the speed it is played and a few of the top teams we will play against.
“We have a decent size squad and there are plenty of games this year with the PRO12, the B & I Cup, the Interpros and the European Cup so the opportunity to play regular rugby is a good one and if I’m not playing first then I’ll be pushing for my place in the Ravens team.”
Injury ended Windsor’s Worcester career before it had a chance to get off the ground.
“There was a lot of opportunity to play as they had a few guys with injuries. The chance to join them came out of nowhere. I got a phone call that they were interested and I had a good mate playing there and I got in touch with him to see if it was worth my while to go over.
“I had a week and a half of training and then went into an ‘A’ game against Bristol, I felt comfortable then unfortunately I had a freak accident.
“I was scoring a try and I got a cheap shot from one of the Bristol players which kind of ruined my shoulder and ruined my season.”
Windsor is looking forward to life at the Kingspan and is has set his goals out.
“The opportunity arose to come to Ulster and after weighting up all the options it seemed like the smart move because it presented more opportunity for me to play at the highest level which would be the European Cup.
“If I could get a start in it I’ll be happy with the decision I made and it would be the highlight of my career to date.”
Windsor added: “Ulster were after another fly half not so much a younger inexperienced one but someone with a bit more experience, a bit more age and a bit more playing time under their belt to accompany Humph (Ian Humphreys) and Paddy (Jackson) and offer a bit more depth and competition.”
“It was after I had my surgery so Ulster were fully aware of my injury and they showed a lot of interest and were really positive towards me and presented my with a no brainer at the end of the day.
“Being Irish qualified I wanted to come back here and play after my short stint in Dublin, I want to get the game time, play and prove I have what it takes.
Windsor will play the second half against Leinster and friendships will be put aside until the end of the game.
“I haven’t actually chatted to any of the Leinster boys this week but I have crossed paths with them in the last 12 months in the B & I semi, I have been following the progress of a few of their boys.
“I was good mates with Luke McGrath and I expect him to play, Noel Reid with probably be in the centre, Darragh Fanning, Colm O’Shea, Sam Coghlan Murray all these boys were all in and around the academy when I was there.
“I know a lot of them quite well and I know how they play, I can really test myself against them but there won’t be any friendly exchanges until probably the final whistle, I couldn’t ask for a better team to come up against in my first game and we couldn’t as a team as well.”