Following last season’s fourth-placed finish and narrowly missing out on a quarter-final place in Europe, coach Les Kiss is determined they can overcome Clermont, Exeter and Bordeaux-Begles for a knockout place this year.

Ulster’s well-rounded forwards and explosive backs have proved troublesome for many teams over the past year, being the only team to beat league winners Connacht both home and away, but they failed to capitalise on it when it counted.

Ulster have this year seen 10 players exit in exchange for six new faces.

Of the group leaving only Nick Williams, Sam Arnold and Rory Scholes are yet bound for other teams.

High-profile signings include outside back Charles Piutau from Wasps, an odd choice given the extensive selection of backs Ulster already have to choose from.David Rogers/Getty Images Sport

Tighthead prop, Rodney Ah-You also joins from Connacht despite criticism the New Zealand-born star has received over recent performances for Connacht.

Springbok Marcel Coetzee will also join the team on a three-year deal from Sharks, adding more versatility to Ulster’s back row.

Other signings include second-row Kieran Treadwell from Harlequins, outside-half Brett Herron from Bath Rugby and scrum-half Angus Lloyd will join the professional ranks from Trinity College Dublin.

In what has now been 10 years without competitive success, Ulster will be eager to step up in the coming season.

Read more from Kealan Grehan