The 29-year-old has had to slug it out with Roger Wilson, who has been capped by Ireland, for the place at the back of the scrum but has been a superb presence in Ulster's dominant pack.
And despite admitting to being a bit sore following his man-of-the-match display, the 20 stone forward was delighted with the performance after the half-time break.
"Gone are the days where you can just run onto the pitch without a warm up. It is all worth it, we were very pleased with the second-half performance," he said.
"Competition is healthy, we have a lot of depth and quality which brings out the best in everyone and that is what we showed. We still have things to work on though.
"He [director of rugby David Humphreys] doesn't muck around and gave us a bit of a kick up the backside at the break.
"We were making individual errors at the breakdown, you have to win the contact competition and we showed in the second half what we are capable of.
"I was just happy to get the ball in my hands. I was probably not getting the ball as much as I would like in the past few weeks but it is credit to the boys. They did the job up front so happy days."