No split loyalties for Rob Herring's clan as Ireland face South Africa
South Africa-born Ireland hooker Rob Herring insists there will be no split loyalties among his family and friends when his side face the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup in Paris.
Andy Farrell's men are seeking to secure a quarter-final spot with victory over the defending champions on Saturday evening following bonus-point wins over Romania and Tonga.
Herring’s mother and two of his three sisters have travelled from Cape Town for the tournament, while a number of his friends will be at Stade de France for the standout fixture in Pool B (8pm Irish time).
The 33-year-old Ulster player has twice before lined up against his native country – Dublin victories in 2017 and last November – but will do so on the biggest stage for the first time.
And he is in no doubt about where his relatives’ allegiances lie.
"They’re all supporting Ireland," Herring said.
"All of my friends that are coming over and my family, they’re all in Irish jerseys so there will be no divided support. They will be fully behind us.
"It will be great. I’ve played against them a few times now and it’s always a good battle.
"I just want to be a part of the squad, contribute any way I can. It will be a good atmosphere, we’ll have our Irish fans there in full force.
"Every week we think we need to step things up and it’s going to be like that going into the long run of the competition. We’ll keep getting better and it will be another big challenge for us."
Herring, who qualified for Ireland through a grandfather from Belfast, missed out on selection for the World Cup in 2015 and 2019.
He is already making up for lost time, having claimed tries in the 82-8 opening-weekend win over Romania and Saturday's 59-16 success over Tonga.
"I keep saying to myself, I’ve got to enjoy