Bryan Young is eager to make up for lost time when he scrums down against Stade Francais in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.
The Irish prop has endured a frustrating season due to injury and now wants to take his opportunity in Paris.
“I’m starving to get struck in, I’ve been out with injury but I’ve been back for a few weeks and I’ve been knocking on the door,” said Young.
“The only thing is the team have been playing well and the guys in my position have been performing so it’s been difficult but I’m just thankful now I have an opportunity.
“Whenever I was injured it was frustrating, I was playing through the injury and it wasn’t working so I had to re-evaluate and the medical staff did a great job to get me back.
“Coming back I’ve lost a wee bit of weight, I’ve trimmed up and I feel better than I’ve ever done. I’ve got back to playing rugby and I’m just happy with any rugby.
“Ballymena is a good place to go, there are a lot of good guys there and I feel proud to wear that jersey again but I’m happy to be winning an opportunity to step up for Ulster again.”
Young battled through the pain barrier but when the injury started to affect his form he had to take time out to get it healed.
“I did it in the gym last March, I damaged the top of my hamstring and I played until the start of this season but it just wasn’t reacting to rehab and treatment,” he added. “I ended up getting a blood injection into it and it’s helped it lot.”
Back to fitness Young came off the bench to great effect against Harlequins last weekend and enjoyed the struggle up front in the awful conditions.
“You never really miss it until you don’t have it and just to be involved and the way the crowd were, the way the boys performed and how physical and intense they were, you get into that position and you don’t really notice the weather until there is a long stoppage,” commented Young. “That’s how focused this team is and it’s important we can replicate that.”