Rising star Matty Rea is hoping his performance against Southern Kings in the Guinness PRO14 at the weekend will be enough to keep him in the mind of the coaching staff.
Ulster will face Leinster in a European Champions Cup quarter-final and Rea, who had last played in the Kingspan in October admits “it’s the one everybody wants to be involved in.”
Rea said: “Obviously it is a big game. Personally for me, and as a team, we want to go down there and be competitive and these are the things that start this week, the preparation now.”
Injuries could still open the door for Rea to be involved, even if he is just named on the bench.
“It’s obviously disappointing (when you get injuries), and injuries are such a massive part of the game now, but there’s plenty of people in this squad and that’s the way it’s been all season,” explained Rea.
“Dan McFarland has prepared everyone, you get your chance and you have to take it.
“You know your roles, you know the system that we’re playing now and it’s something we can all slot into regardless.”
Ulster are now also eyeing a home play-off in the PRO14 Championship after securing their third bonus point win in Conference B with a 33-17 success over Southern Kings which shot them up to second place in the standings.
Finishing there would guarantee a home quarter-final.
“It is in our own hands,” said Rea. “It is something we have set out to do and that is the challenge for us.
“Getting into the play-offs has been a target. It is going to be a tough run-in (playing Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leinster) but it is something we have to front up to and finish out the season strongly.”
Rea admitted it was a case of getting the job done against Kings.
“We probably made harder work of it than we should have,” he added.
“I think there were good parts of play but, not to discredit them, but we fell to their level and got a bit loose sometimes when we should have played with structure. We’re pretty happy with the performance though.”