Lowry hoping returning Grand Slam heroes can boost Ulster's trophy chase

Full-back Michael Lowry is hoping the reintegration of Ireland’s Grand Slam winners back into the Ulster squad can inspire the team as the season is set to reach an exciting climax. 

Ulster sit third in the league as they push to secure home advantage in the domestic play-offs. 

Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Stuart McCloskey all played a part in their country’s fourth ever clean sweep. 

Treadwell is immediately drafted back into the Ulster squad for Saturday's United Rugby Championship clash with the Bulls at Kingspan Stadium. 

“It’s a massive motivating factor to see the lads that were involved and were lucky to get that opportunity down there,” said Lowry. 

"The internationals definitely feed back into the wider group and motivate the rest of the lads. That's what we all want to be part of and get to.” 

“It’s all about pushing our boundaries and our standards so we can perform at our best and bring out the best in everyone.” 

“Team performance will come first and then hopefully individuals can shine in that and push on to get into those wider squads we want to be part of.

“We went through that sticky patch, but we always knew what we were capable of. It’s about improving these next few weeks and there’s a great opportunity for those play-offs.

"We know what’s at stake and we want to push on for silverware.

“This is the peak end of the season, and we know we have to be at our best and bring the best out of each other.” 

With the likes Duane Vermeulen, Jordi Murphy, Iain Henderson, Sam Carter, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Craig Gilroy and Rob Lyttle all out of contract at the end of the season, Lowry knows this could be the final chance for the current squad to end their Ulster careers with silverware. 

“The more experience you get, the more you realise you don’t get many opportunities to get knockout games, getting into home quarter finals and semi-finals they are rare to come by.” 

“We have put ourselves in a good position and we have to be all in now and it is trying to get that message across to the younger lads that maybe don’t realise and obviously for the older lads they definitely realise and it is doing it for them as well because they might not have another couple of seasons.” 

“We are all trying to do it for each other and really push on because we know what this team is capable of it is really just putting the cherry on the cake.” 

Ulster have never lost against South African opposition at Kingspan Stadium and have already beat the three other sides from the rainbow nation this season. 

With the last three regular season games in Belfast, Lowry knows Ulster are in a good position to secure a home quarter and semi-final. 

“It has actually been a while since we have been at home and we love playing at home in front of the crowd and we have seen what we can do.

“We went through that sticky patch and we came back here and played Sale at home and that 16th man got us over the line that day and it was a brilliant atmosphere and that is what we needed.” 

“Having those three games at home is a massive opportunity for us to go in the right direction and put us in a really good spot for the play-offs.”