Montpellier bring out the best in Andrew Trimble
Record-breaking Andrew Trimble can't wait to get started against Montpellier tonight at Ravenhill (8pm).
This will be the 29-year-old Ireland wing's 58th outing in the Heineken Cup – one more than David Humphreys – and completes a magnificent double for Trimble who has also scored more tries in Europe's premier club competition than any other Ulster player. His touchdown against tonight's opponents at Stadio Monigo last month was his 22nd.
He relishes the atmosphere these European contests generate and savours the prospect of his home province lowering the colours of big-name guests from England or France whose visits are confined to such occasions.
"I love the Heineken Cup, especially Friday nights against a big side from the (Aviva) Premiership or the Top 14," Trimble beams.
"We've been fairly emphatic in this season's Heineken Cup and while that's not to say that's definitely going to be the case this weekend I think we're in a great position to be really confident going into this game.
"We know that if we produce a big performance we're well capable of beating a big side like this and beating them well. That's definitely what we're looking to do. For me, I'm just looking at keeping this run going, getting out there and performing well."
Trimble's display in Ulster's 29-19 victory over Munster a week ago was top-notch and his smile upon being reminded of the fact confirms how much pleasure he took from that win against the PRO12 leaders.
"It's the most I've enjoyed a game this season, I really got into it. I was relaxed, I felt confident. I can't explain why but there are nights when you go out there that you're up-tight and worried about what's going to happen.
"Then sometimes it just works and last Friday was one of those nights, so I'll try to do exactly the same preparation this week and hopefully the same thing will happen," he says.
Trimble is happy with his own form and that of the team going into tonight's test, last week's Ravenhill success having exorcised the ghost of December 28 at the RDS.
"There's a good buzz at the minute, we're building nicely," he confirms. "After not having performed that well against Leinster it was good to bounce back with a good performance and a good result against Munster.
"Hopefully we can take another step up against Montpellier and hopefully I can buy into that, be part of it and just enjoy everything that brings.
"If you look at the quality in the Montpellier side and our side, there's international players all through both teams," said the 50-times capped Ireland international, his last against Canada in Toronto in June.
And his performance against Munster cannot have been wasted on Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, so another of comparable quality against Montpellier would be very timely.
"Those inter-provincial games are big encounters; they're physical and they're fast so they maybe suit me a little bit. They're pretty attritional.
"I think our back line is looking really sharp at the minute. Whenever we get parity up front, which we usually do, that puts us in a great position where we can strike and get gain-lines and get forwards round the corner."
Montepllier, you have been warned.