Tommy Bowe believes a new culture is being developed during pre-season at Ulster and expects it to pay dividends when the new Guinness PRO12 season kicks-off in September.
The winger is currently in Portugal with the rest of the Ulster squad preparing for the new season having managed just one appearance in the league last year.
Serious knee ligament damage sustained during Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final sidelined Bowe for the majority of last season but he’s slowly getting back to fitness and form.
And he said the excitement ahead of the new campaign in the camp is reaching fever pitch following the hard work completed already.
“Everyone is very enthused about what we've done so far in pre-season,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“In the past, we've always had strong squads but we're building a new culture that I think is going to bring everything together.
“We'll put things on the line for each other and we want to do whatever we need to do.
“I'm very excited about the squad and excited by the coaches that we have here. Hopefully that will keep building in the weeks and months ahead."
Bowe bagged a brace of tries in his sole Guinness PRO12 appearance last season but the injury flared up again.
That meant he missed the season run-in which saw Ulster finish fourth before losing to Leinster in the play-off semi-final.
And while the 32-year-old says he is feeling fresh and ready to go, he won’t be rushing back into action to add to his 148 Ulster league appearances.
“I think you're always eager to play and you want to be out there but you have to get yourself right," he added.
“I definitely feel refreshed. I've hardly played so I'm fresh and ready to go.
“It's just slowly building everything up and making sure not to rush things. We're progressing nicely at the minute and I'm making steps forward.
“It has been a pretty frustrating time and to miss such a chunk last season was very disappointing, especially when I thought I was in good form.
“I'm all the more excited now about the season that we have ahead. We've got Les Kiss here and he's putting in building blocks that are going to be here for a very long time."
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