Potential is a word rarely used to describe a 27-year-old rugby player, but it is probably the most fitting terminology for Ulster newcomer Rodney Ah You.
Still relatively young for a prop, Rodney Ah You has all the raw attributes to be a major force for his new province, and there is genuine belief among the Ulster management that he can deliver at the top level.
His performances for New Zealand during the Under-19 World Championship, in front of thousands of Ulster supporters in Belfast in 2007, led many to label him as a future All Black.
After lining out for Canterbury in his homeland, the Wellington-born powerhouse joined Connacht in 2010 and made his international debut for Ireland in 2014 – on the summer tour of Argentina – after qualifying through residency.
Now, having helped the westerners to secure a first ever GUINNESS PRO12 title last season, the front rower is six weeks into his latest adventure, and he is thriving.
“I’ve settled in pretty well,” enthused Ah You. “Everyone has been very welcoming to the new lads coming in, including myself. Pre-season has been good – it’s been gruelling but I’ve managed to survive so far!
“My family is enjoying this new experience too. We’ve got all the furniture sorted for the house and we’re getting the kids ready for school. It’s an exciting time for us as a family.”
Connacht’s surprise league success in 2015/16 has whetted the appetite for the father of four to repeat that in a white jersey.
“We had a great season last year and it was brilliant to be part of. Hopefully I can bring some new experiences to the group at Ulster. We have been working hard in pre-season and are building blocks each week. Hopefully we can get some reward for that over the course of the season,” said the three-times capped Ireland international.
Ah You joins Ricky Lutton, Wiehahn Herbst and Johnny Simpson as options on the tighthead side of the scrum, and he is relishing the opportunity to develop under the tutelage of forwards coach Allen Clarke and stake his claim for a starting berth.
He added: “We have some great operators in the number 3 jersey and in the front row in general. There will be good competition between us all and it’s healthy for the squad to have that. We will all have to be at our best to keep challenging each other.”