Now in his fourth season with Ulster, it seems strange that Kyle McCall had to wait until a couple of weeks ago to make his first senior start for the province.
But the waiting game paid off for the Hughes Insurance Academy graduate, who put in an excellent shift against the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade recently.
Kyle McCall was due to make his European bow last Saturday, but following the tragic events in Paris the previous night, the Champions Cup opener against Oyonnax was postponed.
Now the 23-year-old prop is determined to continue to press for a more regular starting position, despite healthy competition from the likes of Callum Black and Andrew Warwick.
“It’s tough to show what you can do coming off the bench, 10 minutes here, ten minutes there, but a bit of misfortune for others led to a bit of fortune for me and I got the chance (against the Dragons),” said the Ballynahinch clubman.
“I like to think I took it and it just gives a few more selection queries and puts me in the frame that bit more. To play 80 minutes was great, it just shows that confidence they have in me.”
With all five of his past appearances coming away from home, McCall would relish the chance to run out under the floodlights of a now sold-out Kingspan Stadium in front of family and friends.
“If selected against Saracens I’ll have all of the family showing up to support, I’m sure. This place (Kingspan Stadium) is awesome. I’ve played a few pre-season games here. If I were to play (on Friday), it would be first cap here and it would be a great occasion. I’m sure it’ll be bouncing.”
With the reigning Aviva Premiership champions, who have reached the knockout stages in Europe in each of the past four years , currently unbeaten this season, McCall is well aware of the threat they will pose.
“Saracens are going to bring something different, challenge us in ways we haven’t been challenged before,” he stated. “They’re going really well, they haven’t lost yet. It’ll be a big challenge for anyone who is in there.
“Hopefully here at Kingspan, we can do a job as a pack. It’s going to be a great game. We’ll have to step up to it and the crowd will get behind us no doubt.”