Improvement is needed says Rob Herring
Ireland hooker Rob Herring admits Ulster will have to be a lot better up front against Leicester Tigers on Friday night than they were in the defeat against Connacht.
Ulster lost to their Irish rivals 26-24 with the last play of the match at Kingspan Stadium in the opening round of the Rainbow Cup despite leading by 10 points at on stage during the second half.
And Herring knows they will have to improve for the European Challenge Cup semi-final at Welford Road.
“We’ll take it for what it is, we weren’t at the standard that we expect of ourselves but that’s it, you live and you learn, we’ve got to move on quickly now and bring that positive energy because this week is a big step for us as a club,” he said.
“Leicester as a pack are going extremely well, they’re very physical. We’ve got to be better in our lineout in attack, we gave away too many balls there and couldn’t get into the game. In general as a pack we’ve got to step it up.
“They’ve been scrumming pretty well. I thought the scrum went well for us and it has been something that’s been going well for us all season, it’s going to be a battle but it’s something that we’re looking forward to.
“What Connacht did to us here is what we did to them in Galway over Christmas.
“They were very good physically, they used their momentum well.
“Going to Leicester, going to Welford Road, that’s one of the most physical places you can go, we know that standard out there isn’t us as a squad, that’s not what we’re about.
“It’s unfortunate particularly because we’re at home, we never want to put out that type of performance anywhere but especially at home.
“It’s something we’ll look at it, but all we can do is get back to doing what we do well and that’s hopefully what we’re going to put on the pitch next week.
“We need to be winning these semi-finals, it’s a step forward from previous years in Europe so it’s a big occasion.
“It’s a young squad that we have so it’s a massive chance to take the next step to where we feel we want to be going, always competing for championships and I think it’s massively exciting to be in this position, to be going into a semi-final.
“We’ve done it the hard way now, away from home, and it’s another big challenge but we’re massively looking forward to it.”
As well as front up physically against the Tigers on Friday night Herring knows Ulster as must get their game management right, just like the Gloucester Europe Cup game earlier in the season when Dan McFarland’s side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with the clock in the red.
“We started pretty badly, we managed to work our way back into it then there was a quick momentum swing and suddenly they were ahead,” he said.
“I thought we did well to get back into the lead again and then obviously the last five minutes were disappointing.
“Look, if we’re being honest, if we’d won that game we would have felt that we got away with one, Connacht played really well.
“I think Connacht had most of the momentum, yes, we had a few swings when we came back but you can’t take away from their performance, they came up here and they really performed.
“All we can do is be honest with ourselves and look forward.”
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