Monday 23 September 2019

Herring handles tricky questions from travelling pack

Rob Herring. Photo: Sportsfile
Rob Herring. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Yesterday's team announcement at Carton House had a different feel with Andy Farrell at the top table, while the presence of a sizeable contingent of Japanese journalists at the back of the room was another change from the norm as the World Cup hosts turned their focus on their pool opponents.

The travelling pack had an interpreter in tow to ask Farrell his impressions of the Brave Blossoms and his thoughts on why Ireland are so good.

Later, some of the Japanese journalists and their interpreter attended a group interview with hooker Rob Herring with the intention of finding out how it feels to represent a team that covers two jurisdictions north and south of the border.

It's never the easiest question to address to a foreign audience, but when you throw in the fact that Herring comes from Cape Town and qualifies to play for Ireland through his maternal grandmother, who came from Belfast, it was quite the curve ball.

The Ulster star has been here long enough to negotiate the tricky territory.

"I guess rugby on the island of Ireland, it's always been a cross-border sport and for anyone who plays rugby, you just don't see it like that," he said.

"We're all in it together, we're all representing the Irish rugby team so it's an exciting time with the World Cup coming up and we want to go a few steps further than we have ever before."

Herring missed out on 2015 after being part of the build-up and this time he's ready to take the next step.

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"The last World Cup I just felt kind of lucky to be in the pre-season squad but this year I'm a lot more motivated to play a big part and to help us achieve something we haven't before," he said.

"So I'm a lot more confident as a player, a lot more experienced and hopefully I can just do my bit to help the team."

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