Ulster to begin build-up for new season against old foes Leinster
Ulster's pre-season itinerary begins south of the border in Navan on Saturday, August 13 when they travel to meet all too familiar foes Leinster (ko 3pm).
It seems no pre-season would be complete without encountering the province who have caused Ulster so much heartache in knockout rugby and this outing will be the first of three friendlies for the senior side ahead of the PRO12 kicking off again at the start of September.
A week after the Leinster game, Les Kiss's squad are off to play Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, August 20 (3pm) and this should be quite an interesting challenge for as the province come up against the side who lost last month's Aviva Premiership final to Mark McCall's Saracens.
And Ulster's senior squad then complete their pre-season by hosting Northampton Saints on Friday, August 26 as the second part of a rare double-header with the province's A squad having played Canada A earlier that evening.
The main event sees Ulster kick-off against the Saints at 7.30pm - this game should bring the supporters their first opportunity of seeing stellar signing Charles Piutau on the Kingspan turf - with the A side having already done battle with their Canadian counterparts at 5.15pm.
The A game might also mark a return to the Kingspan of Canada's now senior coach Mark Anscombe, who was removed from the Ulster coaching job in 2014.