Rob Herring ready for Ulster milestone

Forwards coach Roddy Grant has praised the impact of Rob Herring at Kingspan Stadium as the hooker is set to become the seventh Ulster player to win 200 caps for the province in Friday night’s home clash with Benetton.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 7:00 am

Herring arrived at Ulster in 2012 from London Irish as understudy to Rory Best and the Cape Town native has established himself as first-choice hooker.

He has also amassed 22 Ireland caps, starting in four Six Nations games last season.

Herring will now join an exclusive club of Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Paul Marshall, Roger Wilson, Robbie Diack and Best to reach the 200 cap milestone for Ulster.

Ulster’s Rob Herring. Pic by Pacemaker.

“He’s been awesome, to get 200 professional games is a real achievement, but at one club, and a club like Ulster as well, is awesome,” said Grant. “That speaks volumes about him as a player and he’s obviously an Irish international as well, he’s a great guy, a good leader and he works really hard.

“He’s a pleasure to coach, he’s very coachable, like all hookers, he plays a really important part in our set-piece, the scrum, the line-out, but he’s obviously dynamic around the park as well.

“He’s not just a set-piece hooker, it’s a really good reflection on him as a player, a pro, a person.

“He’s someone who is passionate about the club and 200 games is an awesome achievement.”

Herring has donned the Ulster skipper’s armband on many occasions and Grant feels he has all the right attributes.

“It’s always a broad topic leadership because there’s so many ways to do it but Rob is articulate, he talks really well, but probably the most important thing with him is that he’s consistent in his actions,” he said. “He plays consistently, his actions, his leadership, he talks well, he talks sense, he understands the game.

“And with the younger guys, because he’s a good bloke and a good person, he’s very approachable.

“He’s not hierarchical or stand-offish.”

Benetton arrive in Belfast as Rainbow Cup champions and sit top of their URC pool after two wins from two games including scoring a drop goal in the 85th minute on Saturday to beat Edinburgh.

“Their results speak for themselves, they didn’t win a game in the season and then the Rainbow Cup came along, and they won everything,” said Grant. “They have had a great start to this season going two from two, are unbeaten and playing really good rugby.

“It is a big challenge, and they are a good side, they have very good players, they are very good at set-piece.

“I have known Marco Bortolami for a long time now and he has done a great job for them, so they certainly pose a threat.

“Our mindset from a forwards point of view is that we are coming to give them a crack as per usual but it is a challenge.

“They are a very good team and we are preparing accordingly in all areas of the game.”

Stuart McCloskey (hamstring) and Jordi Murphy are both ruled out of Friday night’s encounter.

Wingers Jacob Stockdale (ankle) and Rob Lyttle (back) sustained recent training ground injuries and will have their fitness for selection monitored through the week.

Ulster are still without Cormac Izuchukwu (knee), Luke Marshall (knee), Jack McGrath (hip), Iain Henderson (thumb), Kieran Treadwell (shoulder), John Cooney (hamstring) and Rob Baloucoune (groin).


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