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Ulster second-row Kieran Treadwell is taking it day-by-day after picking up a shoulder injury ahead of the upcoming inaugural United Rugby Championship.
The competition involves all 12 teams that took part in the Pro14 last season, as well as four South African sides – the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions.
All four sides were set to get a taster of the new-look competition during the Rainbow Cup, but coronavirus worries derailed those plans – only the Bulls faced a side in the Pro14; a loss to Benetton Treviso in the final of the competition.
The 25-year-old Irish-capped lock is working on his fitness as he looks to regain the starting berth he had nailed down last season.
He noted that the new rules set to be implemented in the upcoming season also encourage himself and the rest of the Ulster squad to continue improving their fitness.
Former Limerick senior hurling strength and conditioning coach Mikey Kiely will be at the centre of that focus, having joined the province following the Treaty County’s successful Liam McCarthy defence this year.
“He’s a great guy,” Treadwell said. “He’s really knowledgeable and he gives a different perspective.
“His background, it’s very fitness-based and he’s very knowledgeable in what he does and how he delivers it. As a bloke he’s a really, really good guy and I’ve a lot of time for him.
“[Rugby is] similar [to hurling] in that it’s a team sport but the difference is that there’s more continuous play.
“They’re quite transitional is how he put it to me, I’ve spoken to him quite a few times about how it differs.
“He seemed to be saying it was quite similar, but there’s more boys over 100 kilos so it is a bit different.
“We obviously saw that they [Limerick] got to the final and won, obviously the boys were talking about that.
“You see the way that they play, they have serious engines on them, the way they look, they’re big guys.”
Kiely is expected to further improve Dan McFarland’s Ulster setup following the side’s growth under the former Scotland assistant coach.
Ulster begin their season on Friday, September 24 when they play host to McFarland’s former team, Glasgow Warriors at the Kingspan Stadium.