Nick Williams insists Cardiff Blues can go into their Judgement Day showdown with the Ospreys with confidence following his emotional return to Ulster.
The destructive number eight came off the bench as the Blues claimed a 24-24 draw at the Kingspan Stadium – his first appearance at his former stomping ground following his summer switch.
Williams, a firm crowd favourite at Ravenhill, was given a warm welcome and he was pleased with an impressive performance, which arguably deserved more than a draw.
He said: “This is a special place to me and it was even more special when I came out for my warm-up and when I came on and I could hear I was still accepted as an Ulsterman. Things like that you always remember.
“We’ve had three away games now and we could count ourselves unlucky in the Leinster game when we lost by a point, we played well for 60 minutes against Gloucester and we could have won against Ulster.
“It’s a shed load of confidence. We’re in a good place now, we had a bit of a down patch in the last two months but you always have to take the positives from wins or like against Ulster a draw. After three away games and some good points it gives our confidence a boost.
“If you offered us a draw in Belfast we would take that any day.”
Williams was a first-half replacement for try-scorer Sam Warburton, who suffered a knee injury in an encounter where the Blues continually caused the hosts problems.
Willis Halaholo and Alex Cuthbert were constant threats with ball in had but it was Rey Lee-Lo who did the damage with a brace of tries.
Ulster hit-back in the closing stages as Luke Marshall sliced through for a converted try and the Cardiff Blues were unable to manufacture a winning moment as they settled for a draw.
He added: “I came on earlier than expected. I didn’t have time to let it sink in. When Warby went down I was told I was on and once you get over the white line to play it’s all Cardiff Blues.
“We had (Josh) Navidi, (Ellis) Jenkins and Warby there in the starting back-row. We came out and tried to slow the Ulster boys’ ball down and that’s why we played what you could call three sevens. It seemed to work well for us and was a bit of a ding-dong battle.
“I was a culprit there (at the end), I lost the ball when we were on the line and trying to set-up for the drop-goal and it just got stripped. Things like that happen but we would take a draw any day.”