Ulster centre Ian Whitten has admitted self-doubt almost put pay to his rugby progression but the opportunity to shine while experienced internationals are away is driving him on to bigger and better things.
The 24-year-old, who will start the RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Cardiff on Friday, was a peripheral figure last season for Brian McLaughlin’s side but is eager to take full advantage of his latest opportunity with the likes of Paddy Wallace drafted into Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad.
Capped himself on the 2009 tour of North America, Whitten is desperate to rediscover that form and that starts with accepting everyone can have a bad day at the office.
He said: “With experience, you know that one bad game doesn’t make you a bad player and it makes you even more determined to prove your worth the next time.
“It is difficult coming in and out all the time. I really struggled with it last year and I started to over-analyse my performances a bit. My form dipped as a result of it.
“The last couple of Heineken Cup games were fantastic; getting on in the last few minutes against Leicester and then starting against Clermont. The end of the Leicester game, the way the crowd was, I’ll never forget it.”