Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby Ulster

Ulster's Rob Herring gets over his nerves to give first rallying speech at Newport Gwent Dragons win

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 05/09/2016

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016
Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye
Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast.
Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Try for Ulster's Jacob Stockdale
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Ruan Pienaar
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. The Dragons Jack Dixon is tackled by Ulster's Robert Lyttle and Brett Herron
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Nick Macleod misses his tackle on the Dragons Ed Jackson
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. The Dragons Jack Dixon is tackled by Ulster's Robert Lyttle and Brett Herron
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Ruan Pienaar runs in to score a try against Newport Gwent Dragons during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Try for Ulster's Jacob Stockdale
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Newport Gwent Dragons Pat Howard scores the opening try against Ulster during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Jacob Stockdale is tackled by the Dragons Adam Warren and Carl Meyer
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Pete Browne is tackled by the Dragons Rynard Landman, Ed Jackson and Sam Hobbs
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Newport Gwent Dragons Pat Howard scores the opening try against Ulster during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Brett Herron and Newport Gwent Dragons Pat Howard during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Newport Gwent Dragons Pat Howard scores the opening try against Ulster during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Newport Gwent Dragons Pat Howard scores the opening try against Ulster during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Robert Lyttle gathers the ball to go over for a try
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 2nd September 2016 Mandatory Credit Brian Little/-Presseye Ulster Charles Piutau tackled by Newport Gwent Dragons Ollie Griffiths and Jack Dixon during Friday night's Guinness PRO 12 match at the Kingspan Stadium,Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Try for Ulster's Jacob Stockdale
2 September 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro 12 Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Stuart McCloskey celebrates with Jacob Stockdale

While all was well that ended well in Ulster's opening PRO12 win over Dragons on Friday night, Rob Herring's captaincy was barely 10 minutes old when it faced its first major challenge.

The Irish-capped, South African native led his adopted province on 15 occasions last season when Rory Best was absent but will skipper the side, along with Andrew Trimble, on a permanent basis this year.

Having already stated he is the type more keen to lead by example than rousing speeches, he found himself underneath the posts early on against Dragons, needing to rally a team down 8-0 against unfancied visitors.

"It obviously wasn't the start we wanted, but credit to the Dragons," he said. "They came at us hard early on and they scored a good try.

"I just said that we had to press the reset button. We started over and made sure we got the next score. I think the boys responded well and the second 20 minutes of the first-half was a lot better."

Despite his past experience in the role, Herring admits that leading out the side on Friday brought additional nerves.

"It's always massive leading the team out and you always feel that extra bit of nerves," said the 26-year-old. "There were a few more butterflies than normal in the morning, I struggled to eat, but I enjoy it. I'd worry more if I wasn't nervous, to be honest. I think it adds to the performance."

Herring, though, will not have been the most anxious man in the stadium as kick-off approached.

That accolade surely would belong to Ross Kane, not that you would have known from his performance. The Academy product - a Schools' Cup winning captain with Methody in 2013 - was thrown into the firing line after injuries to props Wiehahn Herbst, Ricky Lutton, Rodney Ah You and Johnny Simpson, but held his own throughout his senior debut.

After two early scrums to test his mettle, Herring was not surprised by the performance of the young man packing down alongside him.

"Ross came in and did well, but I wasn't shocked," added Herring. "He's a strong lad, he's got a brilliant attitude and he worked hard. He came in and did the job I expected him to. It's an eight-man effort and the back-five in particular did really well. I knew if we could provide a platform up front then we have a back five who love scrummaging."

Despite the strong showing from Kane and a competitive debut from superstar Charles Piutau, Friday's game belonged to only one man - Ruan Pienaar.

At the end of a week when it was announced he would be leaving the province at the end of this season, the Springbok scrum-half produced a man of the match performance that saw him create one try and score another.

With the crowd making their feelings known regarding the IRFU enforced exit, the 32-year-old admitted the last week had been draining.

"Emotionally it's been a tough week for me and my family," he said. "But it was pleasing to get the win and great to get the reception that I did. I've been here for so long I feel part of the furniture. I love this club, I love this city and all the people. It meant a lot to me

"It's all about the team for the next 10 months while I'm still here. For me, it's about enjoying the time left I have in this jersey. It's been special the last six seasons and it would be massive for myself and the team to have something to show at the end."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

Widget page
Widget page

From Belfast Telegraph