Ulster captain Johann Muller insists his side have learnt from last season's quarter-final heartbreak at the hands of Northampton Saints as they gear up to face Munster on Sunday.
The Ravenhill outfit crashed out of the Heineken Cup following a 23-13 defeat to the Saints at stadium:mk last April.
Muller admits the loss was a bitter pill to swallow but he insists Ulster are better prepared following the painful experience.
"The only way you get experience in competitions like this is from playing games like last year and learning from the tough experiences," said Muller.
"During the last three years, and especially the last two, we have played in a lot of big games and the experience we've gained against the likes of Biarritz Olympique and Northampton Saints away last year, and Clermont Auvergne this year is huge.
"We were leading at half-time against Northampton last year but in the second-half our first phase went to pieces. We have to take those lessons on board.
"We've learnt a lot and it's about making sure we don't make the same mistakes again. But we've now got that experience of a quarter-final and know what it takes."
They clash with Munster at a feverish Thomond Park and expect a hostile reception in Limerick. But Ulster are excited by the challenge and Muller reckons the familiarity between the two sides and experience from playing at Thomond Park on a regular basis will be a major advantage.
"The players are really excited, the vibe is right up there and everyone knows how big an occasion it is.," said the South African second-row.
"The tough thing is going to be keeping everyone calm!
"But we've played there many times before, we know the circumstances, the noise and how the crowd will behave. The amount of experience we gained in "Clermont, where there was an unbelievable atmosphere was brilliant. That takes us a step forward in going to Limerick and makes a difference. But it's between four lines and what happens on the field."
Muller reckons the inclusion of Paul O'Connell is a major boost for Munster but he is relishing another opportunity to go head-to-head with the inspirational skipper.
"I've played a couple of games against him and Paul is one of the best, if not the best locks I've played against," added Muller.
"He's a great rugby player, an outstanding leader and he brings so much. He lifts everyone around him and is massive for Munster.
"I'm looking forward to playing against him. He will make sure Munster are right up there, fully committed and they will come flying out of the changing room."
Muller is also looking forward to re-acquainting himself with former Ulster prop BJ Botha.
Muller spent nine seasons playing alongside the prop for the Sharks in South Africa before they linked up again at Ravenhill.
Botha switched to Munster last summer and it will be the first time the good friends have clashed on the pitch.
"I've spoken to BJ a couple of times this week. We're all looking forward to playing against each other. It will be my first game against him and that will be interesting but I'm sure Rory and the boys will have crack at him at scrum time."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.