It should come as little surprise that Ireland’s incredible 2018 on the international front is having a knock-on effect at provincial level.

Grand Slam success, a series victory in Australia and a clean sweep in November that included a first-ever victory over the All Blacks on Irish soil was borne out of preparation and planning every bit as much as execution and skill.

Joe Schmidt’s detailed training sessions and player debriefs are fabled at this stage, and can be a steep learning curve for those coming into that environment. The Kiwi demands the highest standards and according to John Cooney, the Ulster players returning to provincial duty have upped their standards.

Cooney was one of eight Ulster players who formed part of Schmidt’s squad last month from captain and long-serving Rory Best, to try scorer against New Zealand Jacob Stockdale, right down to the uncapped Will Addison.

The scrum-half took his tally of appearances in green to three and is now part of an Ulster side looking to put back-to-back victories over Scarlets after a superb display in claiming an away bonus point last weekend at Parc y Scarlets.

Level with Racing 92 at the top of the pool standings, they are very much in control of their own destiny and head coach Dan McFarland has opted for an unchanged team.

"We really brought it in those first 10, 15 minutes," Cooney says. "We said we were going to go over and fire shots, and it is something we did.

"In the Cardiff game the week before [16-12 victory], we were nearly scared of losing. We went out there and just about won. We said, ‘why not go after them [Scarlets]?

"A lot of those good habits you get down at Carton House with Joe, we have been emulating them in training"

"We knew we had to take it to them. It underlined what team we want to be."

So where did the performance come from? According to the 28-year-old, it was the thoroughness in standards, owed in part to international camp.

"A lot of those good habits you get down at Carton House with Joe, we have been emulating them in training. Even walk-throughs, things that are seen as quite mundane, have become things we are really switched on for.

"That goes back to Joe and we are driving that now with Ulster.

"That clarity last week in training was amazing. That means come Wednesday or Thursday, everyone is ready to go and there is no self doubt. Everyone knows what to do."

Stockdale, Addison, Henry Speight and Marcell Coetzee crossed the try line last week and the manner of performance on the road was something that has at times in the past been lacking.

"It’s easy in front of the home crowd to get energetic"

A tough nut to crack in front of a raucous Kingspan Stadium, it has been often been quite a mixed bag on their travels.

"We talked about collective energy bringing that in away games, trying to get the same thing we have at home. It’s easy in front of the home crowd to get energetic, whereas away you have to build your own atmosphere."

That is not likely to be an issue tomorrow night under lights and while Wayne Pivac’s side are out of the competition, revenge will be very much at the front of their minds.

The hosts, under the watchful eye of McFarland, are all too aware that backing up an away win for the back-to-back fixtures is not always a straight forward proposition.

"It’s always dangerous when a team has nothing to lose, especially such a good attacking outfit," he says."We know they will throw the ball around and look to play.

"Dan showed us a couple of teams that have done this in the past where they have gone away, got good wins, and then lost at home. We know it’s important to turn up this week."

Follow Ulster v Scarlets on Friday (KO 7.45pm) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Paddy Wallace