Ruan Pienaar has hardly had a break since the end of last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 but the South African insists he fit and raring to go as he eyes up Ulster’s starting XV again.
After helping Ulster to sixth in the RaboDirect PRO12 last term, as well as a Heineken Cup final, Pienaar was whisked away for international duty, playing nine times for the Springboks against England and in the Rugby Championship.
And having only arrived back in Belfast last week, the scrum-half had to settle for a place on the Ulster bench for the visit of Castres to Ravenhill.
But head coach Mark Anscombe brought Pienaar on for the final 19 minutes and that was all he needed to make his mark, scoring a last-gasp try to secure an all-important bonus point for Ulster in the 41-17 victory.
And after marking his return in some style, Pienaar admits he has the taste for more with the 28-year-old in line to make his first start of the season against RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.
“It was great to see all the familiar faces again," Pienaar told the Irish Independent. “While I was away, I kept a close watch on things and the guys have done really well.
"I said to the guys before I left to link up with South Africa that I have to be realistic about getting back into the team when I returned.
"When I did arrive back, I was told not to put too much pressure on myself and that being put on the bench would be a good idea.
"I haven't really had a break since last season, but it was great just to slot right in again and get a bit of game time with the boys.
"While I'm still healthy, I just want to play. Ulster have a lot of talented scrum-halves and if something happens, there is plenty of back-up.
"I came back to a satisfied camp. It's only natural to keep working really hard for each other. That is one thing I noticed about the new coach, in that there is a harder work ethic both on and off the pitch.
"There is more emphasis put on the small details of our game. The coach is very hard on small things in both attack and defence."