ULSTER RUGBY: Rob Herring doesn't fear Leinster threat at RDS

Rob Herring
Rob Herring

Leinster are unbeaten at home in over a year as they prepare to host Ulster at the RDS on Saturday afternoon.

Ulster have only won once against the four times Pro12 champions in Dublin since 1999 and have seen their season ended at the RDS in three of the last four seasons but despite such a poor record skipper Rob Herring feels Les Kiss’ side can cause an upset.

Leinster have lost two of their last three league games while Ulster have won in their previous two outings to move up to fourth in the table five points behind Leo Cullen’s charges.

“It’s a massive challenge for us this weekend and they have been pretty good at home and they haven’t lost at home this year,” said Herring.

“They have a good squad and they will have some chances from the Boxing Day game but it’s a squad rich with talent and it is going to be a tough game.

“I think there are quite a few players in the squad that were part of that victory three or four years ago, I think if you look back at the last three or four years we’ve been in the hunt for most of the game and it has come down to one or two decisions or one or two good plays from them that has sealed it for them.

“We go down there knowing it is a tough play to play and they are a great team but we have nothing to fear, we have shown we can go down there and compete and we just have to finish the job.”

Leinster lost at Munster on Boxing Day but Herring is expecting they will be stronger in the front row with the likes of Jack McGrath and Sean Cronin likely to return to the starting line up after sitting out the trip to Thomond Park.

“They have got loads of depth in their front row, it’s hard to tell who they are going to put out but it is going to be international either way.

“We had a look at their scrum this week and they are scrumming pretty well at the moment so it is a massive task and massive challenge for us, I said to the boys we’ll have to attack them we can’t sit back and wait on it.”

Ulster’s preparation suffered a set back after prop Wiehahn Herbst picked up an injury in training on Tuesday.

“Wiehahn has been unlucky but the next guy comes in and Rodney will be there and whoever goes from the bench will be there and that is the kind of squad mentality we have at the moment the next guy comes in steps up and puts in a performance.”

The game could come down to a battle of the backrows, Leinster were without Irish trio Sean O’Brien, Josh van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip against Munster but all three are expected to return for the Ulster clash and Herring knows his side must meet the challenge head on.

“They have a brilliant backrow, good depth and all brilliant ball carriers and they have some good jackal threats but you just have to meet them and front up, the only way you can stop their back row if you go and attack them.

“We have done our homework on them we know what each of their back row options can offer and hopefully that is the little extra that can get us through.”

Herring feels if the Ulster pack can provide the backline which sees the return of Andrew Trimble from injury with enough quality ball they can cause the Leinster defence problems.

“We have got great backs that’s no secret but we just have to get them the ball, we know if we can get them clean ball from the set piece they are going to do some damage.

“It is a massive task for us against a good pack but we are up for the challenge and we will be looking to meet them head on and they will know they are in a game.”