The accolades keep rolling in for Rory Best who this weekend will become Ulster’s most-capped player in Europe.
Best will pack down at hooker for his province for the 72nd time in a European game – passing the previous record held by the recently retired Andrew Trimble.
Best – who last month received an OBE while also captaining Ireland to a first-ever victory over New Zealand on home soil – has returned to form and fitness at just the right time this season.
And with the 2019 Guinness Six Nations on the horizon – where Best and Ireland will be aiming for back-to-back Grand Slams – Ulster will look to lay down a marker against Scarlets on Friday night.
The Ulster side is unchanged from the one that downed the Welsh region in Llanelli last week with second row Iain Henderson confident the best of Ulster is still to come.
“I still think there’s plenty more to come, the lads have spent a huge amount of time trying to get small improvements on the pitch and internally I’ve seen them getting better and better, and that’s starting to come to fruition on the pitch,” he said.
“There’s many more steps to be taken forward, and I don’t think we’re nearly halfway done, but we’re getting there. We’ve shown we’re capable of producing performances, now the challenge is to do it week-on-week because that’s what the top teams do.”
Elsewhere in the Champions Cup this weekend, Joey Carbery comes back in at No.10 for Munster after missing out at the 11th hour last weekend in the reverse fixture against Castres.
While Leinster have brought Adam Bryne, Rory O’Loughlin and Jack Conan into their starting XV to take on Bath Rugby at the Aviva Stadium.
George Kruis also returns from the injury he sustained against the All Blacks this autumn to pack down in the second row for Saracens against Cardiff Blues.