| 13.4°C Belfast

Rob Herring is determined to continue driving Ulster on

Dragons v Ulster, Guinness PRO14 Championship, Rodney Parade, Sunday, 3.00pm

Close

Setting standards: Rob Herring after bagging his first try against Zebre

Setting standards: Rob Herring after bagging his first try against Zebre

�INPHO/Matt Mackey

Setting standards: Rob Herring after bagging his first try against Zebre

It was hardly a hat-trick which strayed anywhere close to the spectacular, by shredding defenders and eating up acreage through mazy running, but Rob Herring still got the ball over the line three times which is all that matters.

The 28-year-old hooker had his trio of scores wrapped up by the 30-minute mark and the whole heap came from close-in driving mauls, with Herring getting over from surges off the back.

It certainly set the tone for last Saturday's 54-7, eight-try battering of Zebre and the all-important bonus point was in the bag at half-time after Rob Lyttle squeezed over in the corner just before the sides trooped off.

For Herring, not a bad way to rack up six tries for the season so far to become Ulster's top try scorer in the Guinness PRO14.

Not surprisingly, he wasn't prepared to look at it that way. Instead, Herring was sticking to the need for staying focused ahead of the next challenge.

"That's (the tries) a lot of hard work from the boys up front," said Herring.

"I'm just the lucky guy who gets to put (the ball) down. It was good to get the five points, but we'll move on.

"We've just got to keep our heads down and keep working hard and hopefully put in another performance at the Dragons and get some more points."

All reasonable enough when viewing the Conference B table, with just five points separating Benetton in second with fifth-placed Scarlets and five regulation games to go.

Ulster crept up to third - thanks to Edinburgh coming unstuck at home to Cardiff - but they now need more wins, starting at Rodney Parade on Sunday where they last lost in March 2015 and drew 32-32 in December 2017's previous visit.

Seeing off the lowly Dragons, who were hammered 57-7 at Benetton over the weekend, should really be more than achievable for Dan McFarland's side, along with their penultimate home game with the Southern Kings towards the end of next month.

All that before a tricky looking run-in against Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leinster.

Not that Herring, who is in line to make his 160th Ulster appearance in Newport, is prepared to gaze past the next game.

"Over the last few years we haven't done too well at the Dragons, we have had a few scrappy games and we've probably just come through a few of them on the right side," said the seven-times-capped Ireland hooker.

"We've had a couple of good games now (beating the Ospreys away and Zebre at home) and we've got to keep the momentum going and create another bit of buzz away this weekend.

"We're following a culture within the squad where we are trying to create our own bubble when we go away, especially to places like the Dragons."

Having a driving maul as a formidable weapon - last Saturday's penalty try also came from an advancing phalanx of white shirts to ensure that four tries from the eight against Zebre were scored through their maul - is also no bad thing when Ulster go in search of scores and nor indeed is their solid scrum.

"We had looked at the Ospreys game and we had dominance from our maul but we didn't get to finish any of them off," said Herring.

"The big focus coming into Zebre was that we wanted a few completions and fair play to the boys up front who did the business."

On the scrums, Herring was equally pleased with what had been achieved and what can also be potentially done in the remaining games.

"It's nice to have guys in the squad now who want dominance in the set-piece and go out there and push teams around," he added. "There was a lot of weight coming behind the front three (against Zebre) and that's a credit to the rest of the boys in the pack as well.

"We've shown it in patches this season (dominating up front) and I guess it's now about really laying down a marker to do it consistently."

He might even pick up a few more tries but, realistically, it's all about just keeping the wins coming.

Meanwhile, Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell may miss out on Sunday's game at the Dragons after sustaining a concussion against Zebre.

He is currently following the return to play protocols after the head injury.

Belfast Telegraph