Stephen Ferris insists that a Heineken Cup crunch match between Ulster and Munster is a long way from the players’ minds as troops from either side join together for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.
Despite Ferris and co turning their attentions to the international scene as they look to help Ireland reclaim the Six Nations crown, a European quarter-final clash at Thomond Park in April looms on the horizon.
And there will be some added bite after the Ravenhill outfit thumped Munster 33-17 just before Christmas to put themselves back into contention for the RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spots.
With Ulster stars like flanker Ferris, Rory Best, Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trible mixing it with Munstermen Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and Keith Earls in Declan Kideny’s camp, you could excuse the players from involving themselves in some early mind games.
But 26-year-old Ferris has reassured Irish fans that the attention is purely on their international duties, for now at least.
"There isn’t really any slagging off going on, it is more congratulations to everyone on doing well,” Ferris told the Irish Examiner.
“Everyone has to forget it for the next six weeks because we’ll be playing together, building a team and building confidence for the Six Nations.
“But when the final whistle goes in Twickenham I’m sure there’ll be a few slags.
"There’s a bit of crack at dinner, but Munster and Ulster are looking forward to it.
“It’ll be a great occasion for Irish rugby – it’s been a while since Ulster and Munster have had such a titanic clash. So it should be intriguing."