Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson is looking forward to the "X-factor" the Champions Cup brings when they start their pool charge on Saturday.
The international playmaker admits it was a disappointing effort last season as they failed to make it out of the pool after a slow start.
Jackson's men begin this year's group stage away to Oyonnax before facing Saracens at home ahead of back-to-back clashes against Toulouse.
"I'm massively looking forward to getting back into European rugby. It's always got that added X-factor to it and we're champing at the bit to get at Oyonnax. We didn't do too well in Europe last year and it's a big goal for us to start well," he told the EPC Rugby website.
Ulster enter the European action on the back of a hard-fought win at the Dragons in the PRO12 and director of rugby Les Kiss is looking to use that as a springboard ahead of Saturday.
"The type of character and toughness we showed in this win gives us the perfect platform going into Europe," he said.
"It's going to be a totally different environment next week. It is an 3G pitch with a little bit of elevation. The ball floats a bit differently in the air and we won't have rain up there, so it's a different environment but gong forward it's great to have exposed young guys."