"That was a nightmare game, thanks for reminding me it was 25 years ago! Happy to chat with you."
The self-deprecating humour came through loud and clear in Gary Longwell's text.
A full 25 years on from Ulster's first ever Champions Cup (then Heineken Cup) game, and ahead of Sunday's quarter-final clash with Toulouse in the tournament's silver anniversary, the club legend has just about let go of the memories of their dour introduction to continental competition.
Though it was just four years before their victory in the tournament, the experiences of the inaugural event in 1995 gave little indication of what was to come.
Cardiff were the first team up, in November '95, in the wonderful old Cardiff Arms Park, and there were little or no complaints about the six-try, 46-6 trouncing that followed.
Ulster were used to playing around "seven or eight games a season, with a trip away on tour somewhere thrown in," Longwell recalled, with the possibility of a touring team visiting Ravenhill.
But the schedule was nothing like it is now, and the prospect of playing serious, competitive rugby against foreign teams was an entirely alien concept.
"We didn't really know much about it, it was just added into the fixture list so it was all new to us," he said. "It was new but, looking back, it was really good for the development of the game.
"Not at the time, of course, because we just weren't set up for it - it sort of came too quickly upon us and nobody was really talking about it.
"In some ways it was a little too late. We had a fantastic side in the '80s (Ulster won or shared 10 interpro titles in a row from 1985-94), but the likes of Philip Matthews, Trevor Ringland, Keith Crossan, Nigel Carr, they'd all finished so we were quite light."
Heading to Cardiff, there were no iPads dissecting opposition habits, and none of the deep analysis now done on the players you were likely to face. So when it came to lineout time, Longwell and co were stumped when the Welsh team began to copy earlier South African sides by 'helping' their locks and back-rows at the set-piece.
"They were jumping and lifting, and we didn't know what they were doing!" Longwell laughed. "We were so isolated from the rest of the rugby world at times. We'd beaten Australia a decade earlier but that kind of game was so rare.
"When we went to play Cardiff we thought we'd have a chance because we'd had a couple of decent wins earlier that season, but we hadn't seen lifting in the lineout at that stage and we were well off.
"They were doing an early version of the lift - jumping into the prop's arms, like a tackle - and we didn't know what to do. We weren't even lifting at that stage, and they were so high."
Cardiff raced into an early lead, and by full-time all Ulster had to show was six points from the boot of Mark McCall, a man who's certainly learned how to compete in Europe ever since.
Toulouse was the turning point because the coach went through us - 'How dare you be happy with such a loss'.
"We were conceding points at regular intervals, they were just so much better than us," Longwell conceded.
"Bill (Harbinson, the Ulster captain that day) had a real good go at us at half-time, and then three or four minutes later they scored again. He had another go at us, then we said, 'We'll meet back here in a few minutes'."
If you didn't laugh, you'd cry.
"We were just absolutely creamed... they were faster and stronger and pulling out things we didn't even know possible," said Longwell. "Nigel Walker was an Olympic hurdler and had some real gas. Derwyn Jones, a 6ft 10in second-row, was a monster of a man. I played three or four games for Ulster and was totally outclassed, but that was the most difficult game I played - by a distance."
Bordeaux were the visitors for Ulster's next game and it wasn't much better, the French side leaving Belfast with a 29-16 win in their baggage.
"That's how it was for the first few years... bar the win in 1999," Longwell said. "Even after that we only won one or two games, so we had a shocking record in Europe up until we won it, and then a shocking record after that as well.
"We just weren't really prepared for it, we didn't really have a fan base for it. On a Saturday afternoon people would be playing or at their own club, we'd - at best - rock up to a polite round of applause."
Longwell may brush over it a little while putting the 1999 win into context, but that victory in Lansdowne Road unfortunately remains the high point for Ulster in the professional era.
The 26-times-capped Ireland lock started that day in Dublin against Colomiers and remembers how another defeat - against this weekend's opposition, Toulouse - set them on the road to victory.
"Sometimes you need a bit of momentum and luck, and we got that in 1999," he said. "When I look back at the pool defeat, we lost to Toulouse 39-3... and we were kind of pleased.
"We'd beaten Ebbw Vale by over 100 points, but Toulouse was the turning point because the coach went through us - 'How dare you be happy with such a loss'.
"That provoked a reaction. Then we had Toulouse at home in the quarter-finals, on a Friday night, and that was the start of building the fan base we have now."
The rest, as they say, is history, with Ulster beating Stade Francais in Ravenhill before downing Colomiers in Dublin.
Now 25 years on, can Toulouse be the source of inspiration once more?
"The Champions Cup has been great for the game in Ireland, and you can see in the way Irish rugby adapted that they've done it well," Longwell said.
"Now Dan McFarland has come in and done a fantastic job with Ulster, he's given them belief and a vision and the players believe they can go out and get a result.
"We were more so 'trying not to get hammered', but this lot have a different attitude.
"I think Ulster have players in the right positions that can do damage over there, the pack is strong with Marcell Coetzee, Iain Henderson, and I think John Cooney is one of the best nines about.
"If the big players have big games, I think we can win."
CARDIFF (29) 46 ULSTER (3) 6
NOVEMBER 28, 1995, at Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster: Jonathan Bell; James Topping, Maurice Field, Bill Harbinson (capt), Jan Cunningham; Mark McCall (2P), Neil Doak; Richard Mackey, Allen Clarke, Gary Leslie; Jeremy Davidson, Gary Longwell; Stuart Duncan, Denis McBride, David Erskine.
Replacement used: Wilson for McBride 78.