Expect to see Rory Best being more adventurous than ever in what remains of this season.
The Ulster hooker, who says it has been great to see the team winning in his absence and, in particular, breaking the hoodoo of not having managed an away victory over English opponents in the Heineken Cup, is keen to up his game.
His enthusiasm is understandable — having pushed so hard he wants things to come to fruition for himself, Ulster and Ireland.
January 23, 2010 — the date on which Ulster beat Bath at The Rec — also was the day on which he played his first match in seven months following neck surgery.
While Ulster were winning in the West Country, he was dipping his toe in the AIB League Division Three waters in the yellow, navy and maroon of Banbridge.
Now he’s back and raring to go, intent on making up for lost time.
“It’s all about producing it on the pitch,” he says, insisting that all the hard work to get himself back in shape and fit for action “counts for nothing if you don’t now bring all of that effort into the competitive games where it counts”.
“The gym work has helped me get bigger, fitter and stronger.
“Now it’s about trying to push the boat out and do things that might challenge me skills-wise on the pitch. The only way to get better at things is to do them on the training pitch and then try to do them under pressure in an actual game,” he says.