Clive Ross determined to keep repaying faith of Ulster Rugby coaches
Given how long it took Clive Ross to get here, the Cork native is determined to make the most of every minute at Ulster.
Having failed to latch on in the Academy systems, Ross was running out for Lansdowne in the AIL when Ulster brought him to Belfast on a development contract in 2014. After initially slipping through the net, Ross says he had no shortage of motivation to show he belonged.
"When you're outside the Academies and playing your rugby against boys who are in them, it drives you. You have to keep that confidence and just have to show what you can do," he said.
It's an attitude he has brought to Ulster where last week he earned his 30th cap having been selected in the line-up ahead of the Irish-capped Robbie Diack.
Amidst all the commotion surrounding Ruan Pienaar - who reports in France continue to link with Montpellier on a three-year deal - the win over Dragons was one of Ross' best performances in the white jersey, a versatile showing featuring key turnovers and encouraging link play.
The 27-year-old was thrilled to repay the faith of Les Kiss.
"I think we've always had a strong starting XV here but there's a big emphasis now on peripheral guys like myself to pressure the guys ahead of us," said Ross.
"It was great to be back out there and get a start. It was a big backing from the coaches and I was happy with how I went."
He can therefore expect to retain his place in the back-row for Saturday's visit to Treviso (5.05pm kick-off), a game Ulster go into looking to begin the campaign with back-to-back victories for the first time since 2012.
Treviso may be perennial strugglers but Ross says the visitors must maintain full focus if they are to avoid a humbling at the hands of their Italian hosts.
He added: "It's something Andrew Trimble said during the week, you can't rely on the emotion of an inter-pro or a big game. It's a challenge in itself to get up for every game and that's the approach we're taking."