Rob Herring looking for more from Ulster
Ulster start their European campaign at Bath this Saturday off the back of a defeat against Irish rivals Munster.
Bath won the European Cup in 1998, beating Brive by a point in the final, then were succeeded as champions by Ulster a year later.
However, the tag of sleeping giants could be applied to both clubs - Ulster last tasted glory by winning the Celtic League in 2006 while Bath’s sole success in the over the last two decades was lifting the European Challenge Cup in 2008.
The sides have met four times in the Champions Cup, with Ulster recording a clean sweep from that initial October 2009 date.
Ulster hooker Rob Herring knows Ulster must improve going into Europe following the defeat at Thomond Park.
“I don’t think we’re there just yet and haven’t put in a full 80-minute performance but I thought in patches we were really good,” said Herring. “It was a classic inter-pro game with big collisions and boys getting stuck in.
“It’s a precursor to what’s coming, with some big European games, we’ll go away to Bath which will be similar having a hostile environment.
“I think the Munster game was a good stepping-stone for us, but we need to improve more.
“Performance-wise, there were some really good things, there were some elements that we will have to bring again, especially in the next two weeks against Bath and Clermont.”
Ulster were outscored by three tries to one at Thomond Park but with seven turnovers and missed 16 tackles Dan McFarland’s side gave the home side a helping hand on the way to collecting the four points.
“We came into this game wanting to get the victory and we wanted to lay down a marker,” said Herring. “I thought we came out firing and, ultimately, we wanted to put in a performance and do the jersey proud.
“There were a few individual errors with knock-ons and a few missed line-outs which took the pressure off Munster.
“We have a few things to work on to find a way to keep pressure on teams but all-in-all, we can take some positives from this game.”
Bath warmed up for the visit of Ulster by inflicting a first defeat of the season in the Premiership on Northampton Saints.
That result leaves Stuart Hooper’s side ninth in the table with two wins from four games, they have only reached the knockout stages in Europe once in their last seven attempts.
The first ever meeting between Ulster and Bath was in Belfast in October 2009, with Ulster triumphing 26-12 and won the return fixture 28-10 at the Rec.
A year later the teams were drawn in the same pool again, Ulster made home advantage count with a 22-18 victory and a week later it was also a four point cushion as Ian Humphreys kicked 16 points with Adam D’Arcy and Nevin Spence scoring tries in a 26-22 win.