Trimble desperate to scratch seven-year itch
Andrew Trimble has faced Connacht often enough to know what to expect on Friday night when Ulster meet them at the Galway Sportsground in the final RaboDirect PRO12 inter-pro of 2012-13.
"It's going to be very difficult. There's a lot of sides go there and get turned over because they underestimate how tough it is. It's a very difficult place to go and get a win," the 28-year-old warns.
"I've been down there and been beaten by them on more than one occasion. They're very physical and their intensity is going to be through the roof.
"They'll want to do everything they can to give Eric (Elwood, Connacht's departing coach) a really good send-off, so that's probably going to be a factor, too. But you wouldn't expect anything other than that in Galway, even if he wasn't leaving.
"We have to match that intensity, match their physicality and just try to lift the pace of the game and take it to a level that they're not used to. That's a big challenge for us, but it's something we're looking forward to."
Was there a hint of a smile at the end of that final comment? Possibly, because physicality is a key weapon in Trimble's armoury. Mind you, at 6ft 2ins and 15st 6lbs he can handle himself.
He relishes that aspect of the game.
"I love it, though I find myself getting more competitive than I'd like to be at times," he reveals. "You get yourself into it, you throw yourself about. I've always enjoyed playing that way; I think it brings out the best in me as well."
Admitting that losing to Saracens in the Heineken Cup had been "a pretty disappointing day" he suggests that Ulster have put that behind them. The fact that they have an attainable target has helped.
"I think we're in a position now where we can kick on. It's great that we've got something to play for. Winning the league is a realistic goal," Trimble says.
Pointing to the difference between this weekend's match and others in which he has featured he adds: "There have been times in the past when we've played Connacht near the end of the season looking to beat them in order to qualify for the following year's Heineken Cup.
"This year it's a massive game once again, but the circumstances are different. Both sides are a lot healthier these days."
His desire to win silverware has intensified. He played in the side which won the Celtic League seven years ago, the last time Ulster lifted a trophy.
"Looking back on 2006 when we won the league, that's a real career highlight for me," he reflects. "That's not just something that happens at the end of a season, it's something that builds throughout the season.
"As you develop you get better and you get more wins, so you develop a winning culture.
"When I look back to 2006, that's something I really value. I'm looking forward, hopefully, to doing the same thing again and experiencing the pleasure of winning another title."