Ulster travel to Parc Y Scarlets having won their last six games in all competition but with injuries and international call ups affecting the squad this week hooker Rob Herring knows it will be a tough task in Llanelli.
Ulster currently lie fourth in the table three places and eight points ahead of the Scarlets.
“It’s been a good few weeks and the boys have been playing some good rugby in that last couple of games and it’s looking very positive,” said Herring.
“The Scarlets pack has been going very well and I don’t think they will be losing too many boys to the Wales set up, they are a good scrummaging pack and have some big boys in there and it will be a challenge for us this weekend.”
“We know they are a good team especially in the pack and I think that is where they will try to take it to us and hopefully we’re up for the challenge.”
Herring feels that preparation for the trip to Wales hasn’t been too hampered with the upheaval in the squad this week.
“There is a bit of disruption with injuries and call ups, we had a good session on Monday and did scrums on Tuesday so we’ll find who is coming back from Ireland and then we’ll have a session on Thursday.”
Ulster’ skipper and lineout leader Johann Muller is missing due to a torn calf but Herring is hoping that won’t affect the set piece.
“Johann and Dan normally call the lineouts so they are both missing this week but Robbie Diack has had a few games where he has called and he is very good at calling and the lineout should be good this week.”
“For me it is just getting the throw right and I have full confidence that the boys will make the right calls, so it’s pretty much just getting the timing and that is something that we work on every week so we should be fine.”
“We have a tough challenge this week with a few changes to our pack but hopefully we’ll just keep the momentum up because it has been good over the last few games and we take it to the Scarlets.”
Ulster’s front row of Callum Black, Rob Herring and John Afoa may not be the biggest in European rugby but the South African born hooker feels the new scrum laws will favour technique rather that brute power.
“Admittedly I’m not the biggest game around but with the new rules technique is the big thing, with Allen Clarke that is something we have worked on a lot and I think that it is something that will suit us pretty well, we’re very positive about it and hopefully we can go well again this weekend.”
The new rules mean more work for the hooker now as he actually has to strike the ball with referees becoming stricter on crooked feeds from the scrum half.
“It is an area that we have to work on cause as soon as you lift your foot the other team are going to see that as a target to attack but it is the same for us on them, the main thing is getting the balance and the stability right and keeping low when you hook and our back five is awesome and scrum really well and I think that is one of the big differences for us this year the back have been a good weight behind us.”
Herring starts against the Scarlets and is likely to get the nod in the next match against Edinburgh with Rory Best still with on Ireland duty and he’s hoping to seize the opportunity.
“There are a lot changes this week and a lot of boys won’t have played a lot of rugby so we just want to keep the momentum going, we have good squad depth and hopefully we can continue to keep the momentum when the internationals are on.”
“I played a Parc Y Scarlets last year, it’s a good place to play but it’s a tough place to play because the crowd gets behind them but hopefully the weather stays dry.”
“Our focus at the moment is to go into the break with seven wins in a row and that would be a good morale booster for the team and it would make the break better knowing we are in a good position, we’re playing good rugby and we just want to continue that this week.”