Ulster captain Rob Herring demands response against Southern Kings after humbling defeat

Ulster captain Rob Herring is expecting a much better performance in South Africa today.
Ulster captain Rob Herring is expecting a much better performance in South Africa today.
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Skipper Rob Herring wants to see the real Ulster turn up on Saturday afternoon for the Pro14 clash with the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth (16:00 BST).

Ulster were left reeling after a 63-26 defeat by the Cheetahs last week and Herring is demanding a reaction.

He said: “We all know that game was not really us, it is not what we are about and what we represent; you know we have a good leadership group and we have all stuck closely together and individually everyone knows they have a responsibility to the team.

“Everyone gets together for the last few days, which is good; since the Cheetahs game we have had a lot of opportunity to have mini unit meetings and start those conversions on putting things right.

“I thought the training has been pretty good this week, we are in a positive space; we had a few meetings and heard a few hard truths on what went wrong, but we have turned the page pretty quickly and getting things right for the Kings game.”

Herring knows Ulster can’t let the Kings gain early momentum.

“I thought against the Ospreys we started pretty poorly in the first 20 minutes. The Kings have shown over the last two years if we are a bit loose in our ball retention or our set piece is not firing, it is hard to pull away, it is hard to put a bit of pressure on the scoreboard: a good start is what is exactly needed this week.”

Ulster welcome back international duo Marcell Coetzee and Stuart McCloskey.

The Springbok backrow was initially ruled out for 12 weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in South Africa’s win over Argentina in August.

Coetzee withdrew from the Springboks world cup squad but has returned ahead of schedule, replacing Greg Jones in the Ulster backrow.

McCloskey was left out of the 28-player touring squad due to injury but flew out to South Africa earlier this week and partners Luke Marshall in midfield at the expense of James Hume.

Lions prop Jack McGrath still hasn’t recovered from injury.

Lock Alan O’Connor starts while Billy Burns and Louie Ludik are recalled.