Justin Harrison will captain Ulster in tonight's Celtic League decider at the Ospreys, and the former Australian international has described leading the province as 'a huge honour.'
The towering lock, who was named as Guinness Ulster Rugby Personality of the Year and the Ulster Rugby Supporters Club Player of the Year last week, takes over as skipper from injured prop Simon Best, who fractured his ankle against Llanelli last Friday.
The 32-year-old Harrison said: "I am hugely disappointed for Simon. Not only is he missing the chance of finishing the job out on the field against the Ospreys, but he is also missing out on an Irish representative chance over the summer.
"He has worked so hard to be the leading tighthead prop in Irish rugby and for him not to be finishing this trip with us on the field is disappointing.
"Having the captaincy is daunting. There is a huge expection on the Ulster players and the province, in general, has an enormous pride and tremendous history and culture that I recognise and willingly accept," he told The Newsletter.
"Certainly I count myself very fortunate not only to be part of it, but to be captain of such an important region is a huge honour."
The last time Ulster met the Ospreys, Harrison was captaining Ulster for the first time.
The 24-times capped Wallaby said of last November's clash at Ravenhill: "I remember it was a loss (20-12). I certainly don't want history repeating itself!
"The Ospreys are certainly the in-form side in the competition at present, even though we have had some wins on the run. The challenge is for us to help the players who have come in through injury opportunities, make sure everyone is comfortable with their roles and do those as well as they can."