Ireland's Iain Henderson (pictured) has signed a three-year contract extension at Ulster.
"It was frustrating through the whole start of the season trying to get things sorted without playing. That's probably why it's taken a bit longer to get it signed out," he said.
It must also be a source of frustration that he has not been able to elbow his way past Devin Toner in the second row or Peter O'Mahony in the back row.
The injury to Jamie Heaslip now offers Henderson the chance to "put my hand up" alongside that of Jordi Murphy.
"We showed against Italy that we are able to play without him," said Henderson. "Don't get me wrong, he's a massive loss and a massive member of the team, a senior player. We will miss him, however I think we have the firepower to replace him."