Ulster could hand their big signing Steven Kitshoff a debut this weekend, after the double World Cup winner linked up with his new side in recent days.
The South Africa international arrived in Belfast over the weekend having been given time off following the Springboks’ World Cup success, and was straight into training at Kingspan Stadium on Monday.
Ulster will look to continue their fine start to the BKT United Rugby Championship season when they travel to the Glasgow Warriors on Saturday evening, and defence coach Jonny Bell says that while this week’s squad is yet to be selected, the 31-year-old is in contention for a debut.
“He’s excited and looking forward to getting to know the boys and getting out on the pitch,” Bell said.
It’s been quite the wait for Ulster fans to see the loosehead prop, whose move from the Stormers was announced just over a year ago, while Ulster had previously made an attempt to bring the experienced international to Belfast.
“It’s great. It’s been talked about for a long time and he’s in meetings and he’s around the place.
“He’s just a really humble, grounded kind of guy. I’m only just getting to know him but he’s a double World Cup winner and you don’t become a double World Cup winner without having a certain amount of gravitas and character and you can see that in the way he speaks and carries himself.
“The boys are excited about having him around and picking his brain.”
Ulster come into the week in third place in the URC table having won four of their first five games, the latest coming last Friday when they defeated the Lions 24-17 at Kingspan Stadium.
Their opponents Glasgow have also made a fast start, sitting two points above Ulster in the table having picked up a couple of extra bonus-points.
“We’re pretty pleased with where we are but you can’t rest on your laurels as you are playing a team now that are second in the log and are playing a very expansive and open game of rugby,” Bell added.
“They are at home and they’ve won 21 out of 22 games at Scotstoun so it’s going to be a massive challenge but a great opportunity for us and the boys are excited about it.”
“They like to put lots of width in the game to they are going to challenge us particularly in our defensive system.”
Watch live coverage of the Vodocom Bulls v Connacht in the BKT United Rugby Championship on Saturday from 2.30pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, and listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1
Follow a live blog of Leinster v Munster on Saturday from 6.30pm on on www.rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1