Trimble targets World Cup glory after his injury hell
Ulster winger Andrew Trimble feels he is close to full fitness as he aims to nail down a spot in Ireland's squad for the World Cup in September.
Having suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from an injured toe earlier this year, the 30-year-old has not played since sustaining ligament damage against Glasgow Warriors in October but he was included in Joe Schmidt's 45-man training squad last month and is out to prove he is back to his best before a final 31-man panel is named on September 6.
Speaking at the Kingspan Stadium as BT announced they would continue in their role as Ulster Rugby's Official Communications Partner for a further four seasons, he offered an encouraging update on his progress.
"The toe has been grand, really good actually," said the 57-times capped international whose wife Anna gave birth to a son this summer.
"With just being off my feet for a little while there's been a few niggles getting back into it," he added.
"With the four weeks off on holiday I was hoping to do a bit more training than I have done but since I got back in and since I got back on my feet things have gone unbelievably well for me.
"I'm really pleased," Trimble commented.
"The lungs are still struggling just from being off my feet for so long but that will come.
"I'm running well, back up to a good bit of pace, and I'm really just so pleased to be back in the mix and hopefully fighting for a spot."
With Ireland's World Cup hopefuls released back to their provinces this week ahead of an upcoming camp in Galway, Trimble has been working with his Ulster team-mates after a week spent at Carton House where he was almost able to take a full part in training.
Of his pre-season to date, Trimble recalled: "I was in Carton House all week last week, I did a session Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then back up with the boys on Friday.
"(We're) back up with the provinces this week and then down to Galway on Saturday so I'm pretty much on the same schedule as everybody else.
"I did a week before we started with the team and I did an extra conditioning session last week.
"Just ramping it up, the amount of metres covered and the pace, and then more or less back doing everything.
"I did pretty much everything on Friday with just one little tweak, I didn't change direction as much, but I'm pretty much there.
"I did everything yesterday with the boys and it was a tough old session.
"As long as I don't have any more setbacks I'm where I want to be."
Andrew Trimble was speaking at the announcement that BT have signed a new four-year agreement to continue as Ulster Rugby's Official Communications Partner, seeing the BT Sport logo retain its place on the team's jersey.