Ulster’s dominant scrum has been a key component to winning this season and one of the main reasons has been the form of tight head prop Marty Moore.
Dan McFarland’s side have won all eight games that Moore has started, including the four in Europe, and while happy with the set-piece the Irish international knows the Ulster front row are in for a tough afternoon at the coal face against Clermont tomorrow afternoon.
“It is an area of our game we are getting a bit more dominance out of,” said Moore.
“It’s something we can bring into games and use as a weapon.
“We didn’t quite get some rewards with it at the weekend (against Munster), but it will stand us in good stead going away to one of the toughest scrummaging sides in Europe this weekend.
“Rabah Slimani is a very seasoned international and is very good at what he does so referees aren’t going to be too quick to pick him up at times. I think it’s down to us in what we bring to the table.
“We know that they’ll show up and show us different pictures, they are not the same at what they do every week, but they are very effective at it.
“We can’t leave anything up to the other side or the officials, it’s an area where you have to front up and show good pictures, especially away from home.”
Moore is hoping Ulster assert pressure at the first scrum and help silence the crowd in the cauldron of the Stade Marcel Michelin.
“I think it’s all about painting good pictures to the referee, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a hugely dominant first set piece but just good clean pictures, show you want to be positive and want to play rugby,” he said.
“It is something you need to get on your side and show you are there to play and show no weakness off the bat. We want to show we can come as quickly out of the gates as they do.
“I think they score the most points in the first quarter in any league across Europe so they are a very strong starting team so we need to be at the ready.”
Moore has been doing his homework on the Clermont front row.
“I think we have to look at them, the way they are as a team they attack the set piece,” he said.
“It’s not so much Falgoux or whoever starts will do that for me, it is how they attack as a unit and through Slimani.
“It is what they do as a whole and the way they approach it is a little bit unorthodox and we have to be ready for that,
“So I would be looking at that rather than the same picture being repeated in video review I think.
“We have our work cut out about that in terms of our preparations but we have shown that we can more than deal with them at home a few months ago so hopefully it will be more of the same.”
The 28-year old won the last of his 10 Ireland caps against Scotland in 2015 but his club form got him an invite to Andy Farrell’s first get together and Moore is hoping to strong showing in Europe can get him into the Six Nations squad.
“The first step is always playing well for your club and being selected if you are playing well week in, week out for your club,” he said.
“This is another opportunity to show what you are about, so the most important thing that is going to get anyone selected are the couple of inter-pro games we have just gone through
“And with Europe on the horizon now and I am sure the national coach will be looking at that more than anything we did during the past couple of weeks.”