Ulster hooker Rory Best is "aiming for big things" this campaign as he returns to pre-season training at the Kingspan Stadium side.
Les Kiss' team were knocked out at the semi-final stage last term, going down to Leinster in Dublin in a result that ended their season.
But with stars like Marcell Coetzee and Charles Piutau arriving at the province ahead of 2016/17, Best is looking forward to the campaign.
"There is a lot of excitement building here, you just see the freshness you get after a bit of time away from each other," he told the Ulster website, with their opening PRO12 game seeing them host the Dragons on September 2.
"The first week of pre-season is something you dread, you know it's going to be tough, your legs are going to be sore and your body's going to be sore.
"As the years go by it nearly gets a bit harder but it's great to be back in, it was a nice break but it felt like a very short break."
He added: "To meet the new guys, see all the familiar faces and be back in with the staff and there is a buzz for the new season.
"We're aiming for big things here, when Les (Kiss) took over that was always his thing that we wouldn't settle for second best.
"We took small steps last year but we know we've so much more to come."