Rob Herring is a professional rugby union player who plays as a hooker for United Rugby Championship club Ulster. Born on 27 April 1990 in Cape Town, South Africa, Herring hails from one of South Africa's oldest and well-known schools, South African College Schools (SACS).
He joined the London Irish academy in 2009 and made his senior debut for the team in 2010. However, he was not offered a senior contract and returned to South Africa to continue his studies.
Herring played for Western Province's under-21 team and also appeared in the Varsity Cup for Stellenbosch University.
It was during this time that both Ulster and Connacht expressed interest in him, aware that he qualified to play for Ireland through his Irish grandparents.Despite water polo being his main sport in school, Herring chose to pursue rugby as a career. He qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandfather on his mother's side, who hailed from BelfastUlster and Connacht both offered him two-year development contracts, but Herring requested a six-month trial so that he could continue his studies if things didn't work out. Ulster agreed, and he signed with them ahead of the 2012-13 season.
Initially serving as a backup to team captain Rory Best, Herring got first-team opportunities when Best was on Ireland duty. He showcased his skills and leadership on the field and was named captain in Best's absence during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. During the 2016-17 season, he shared the captaincy with Andrew Trimble after Best stepped down from the role.
Herring reached a significant milestone in September 2016 when he made his 100th appearance for Ulster. Since Best's retirement in 2019, he has been the first-choice hooker for Ulster. In October 2021, Herring achieved another milestone, making his 200th appearance for the club. At the end of the 2022-23 season, he equaled the Ulster appearance record at 229, alongside Andrew Trimble and Darren Cave.
On the international stage, Herring made his debut for Ireland in June 2014, coming off the bench in a tour match against Argentina. He was included in the Ireland squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as a replacement for the injured Seán Cronin. Herring played a vital role for Ireland, starting all five of their matches in the 2020 Six Nations Championship. He continued to make valuable contributions, including scoring a try in the third test against the All Blacks in July 2022, contributing to Ireland's historic series win in New Zealand.
Herring's impressive performances led to his inclusion in Ireland's 2023 Six Nations Championship squad, where he scored a try in the final match against England, helping Ireland secure the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Herring has been named in the squad for Ireland.
|2012 - present
|2014 - present
|2022 - present