Trimble's new edge
Published 08/12/2006 | 00:00
Tomorrow will be exactly four weeks since Andrew Trimble enjoyed his finest hour in an Ireland shirt with his try-scoring display in the sensational victory over South Africa at Lansdowne Road.
When he felt his hamstring tighten midway through the second-half of that game, he didn't realise he wouldn't play again until tomorrow's mouth-watering Heineken Cup showdown against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm, live on Sky Sports 3).
The last four weeks have involved a mixture of intense hamstring rehabilitation work, sprint training and general fitness work.
Not surprisingly, the 22-year-old is like a coiled spring. And the 3,000 Ulster supporters making the trip to Reading will be hoping London Irish pay the price.
"The South Africa game was the most I have enjoyed playing for Ireland, " said Trimble.
"It is the first time I felt like I really, really fitted in. I was up for the game and determined to make the most of my opportunity.
"And the way South Africa defend, I love trying to break that down. We had one or two ideas about breaking it down and one or two of them came off and it was great to get out there and get my ball in my hands.
"I felt like I was gaining a bit of momentum and really starting to peak but to get injured and take a step back, I am going to have to start all over again tomorrow.
"You have to get a bit of form back and get a bit of confidence. I have to take confidence form my own ability and assure myself that I am going to pick off where I left off."
If the headline writers remember Trimble's heroics against the Springboks, the player himself still has in his mind a disappointing performance in the defeat away to Llanelli in his previous game, a defeat which has turned tomorrow's clash into a must-win contest for Mark McCall's side.
Significantly, Trimble feels he learned a major lesson from Stradey Park.
"I really felt I had a poor game that day," he added. "I was a bit embarrassed really. It was just one of those games, I couldn't get into it. It is all up here in my head and I think that is why I changed my approach to the South Africa game after that.
"I know I play a little bit better when I have got a bit of an edge and that's what Mark always tells me. If someone took me out early in the game, I would probably play better.
"I got into that mindset for South Africa and I think it worked so I will try it again."
Trimble revealed that Ireland team-mate Shane Horgan has been an inspirational figure for him in his attempt to make sure he hits the ground running.
"Trying to get that edge can have the other effect," he added. " If you are really up for a game, are buzzing and there is a lot of adrenaline, you could drop the first ball and then you go into your shell for the rest of the game.
"Your first touch is very important. Take the ball really confidently and make yourself confident and make yourself run as hard as you can.
"It is something Shane Horgan does really well for Leinster and Ireland. He is always so up for a game, so competitive and has a real edge to him.
"I have it now and again and I know whenever I have it."
Ulster will certainly hope he has it tomorrow, with hopes high that the return of Trimble and Tommy Bowe - back together for the first time since the rout of Toulouse - will give the visitors the necessary cutting edge.
"Before the injury, I felt like I was gaining a bit of momentum and really starting to peak but to get injured and take a step back, I am going to have to start all over again tomorrow," added Trimble.
"You have to get a bit of form back and get a bit of confidence. I have to take confidence from my own ability and assure myself that I am going to pick off where I left off. It is going to be a massive occasion."
And just the sort of stage that Trimble relishes.