PRO14 RUGBY: Wiehahn Herbst and Ulster sticking to the basics

Ulster's Wiehahn Herbst
Ulster's Wiehahn Herbst

Prop Wiehahn Herbst is hoping Ulster can keep their impressive home form in the Guinness PRO14 going when the Dragons visit Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.

Ulster’s last defeat in the league came against Munster by a point in October 2016 since then Les Kiss men have won eight and drawn one of their domestic games in Belfast.

Ulster have started this season with three from three in the PRO14 including a win over defending champions Scarlets last weekend.

That win moved Ulster to second in Conference B two points behind Leinster.

The Dragons coached by former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman picked up their first win last weekend but are second bottom.

“It was so good on Friday, the crowd being behind us like that, they were electric,” highlighted Herbst.

“If they can bring that, it’s like an extra man on the field, it was really, really good.

“For us, we focus on what we build every game, we focus game by game, then the results take care of themselves.

“We respect the Dragons, they are always a tough side, it’s going to be tough, we have to do our basics and our skills.”

The Dragons are likely to rest their internationals after beating Connacht but Herbst feels whoever takes the pitch for the Welsh region will give Ulster a tough test.

“I think we’re not focused on that, there’s depth in their squad. We know it’s tough no matter who they send. We focus on ourselves,” he added.

Ulster handed the Scarlets their first defeat of the season.

“It’s good to get a victory like that, it was a really tight first half and for us to finish the game like that, was really pleasing.

“We’re not getting carried away, it’s the third game of the season, there’s a lot of games to play. We have to work week by week.”

“It’s good for us to go up against good opposition, that’s how you test yourself. It was good to get the result.”

Ulster will be without captain Rory Best for four to six weeks after the hooker tore his hamstring in training but Herbst feels the work done in pre-season should help the team cope.

“We had a really good pre-season together and we worked through all the combinations,” explained Herbst.

“We know the player you’re playing next to no matter who it is.

“That’s really important when you’re playing as a team. As a front-row, we have to be able to work together.”

During the close season Ulster brought in Jono Gibbes as head coach after he helped Clermont win the Top 14 last season and former Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon as scrum coach.

“It’s brilliant so far, I really enjoy what they’re bringing to the club, it’s really good to get a fresh insight.

“It’s week by week, the more we play together the more we get used to it, every week should be a learning week, bring something else that you have to work on, it’s been good so far,” said Herbst.

With a strong South African flavour to things within the Ulster camp Herbst said it was unusual to be playing against other players from his homeland in the league.

The Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings have joined an expanded competition.

“I only know a few of the guys I’ve played against. I never thought that I would play against a South African side again.

“It’s good to have the whole tournament moving in that direction. It’ll be nice to see what the boy’s think when we go to South Africa to play the Kings in November.”