Stephen Ferris career may be over due to ankle injury

World-class blindside made a valiant comeback in March for Ulster

Wed, May 21, 2014, 10:06

The career of Stephen Ferris (above) may be over, with one of Ulster’s greatest ever flankers struggling to recover from a recurring ankle injury.

The world-class blindside made a valiant comeback in March for his native province, following 16 months rehabilitating; damage that was initially sustained against Edinburgh in November 2012.

The 28-year-old subsequently broke down at training, just four games into his comeback.

Ferris was expected to leave Ulster for a Japanese club last season but further ankle surgery scuppered the lucrative move.

Having got his central contract extended by the IRFU, he made a dramatic return to action against the Scarlets on March 14th, arriving as a replacement and making an immediate impact with a ferocious tackle.

Two more appearances in the Pro12 against Edinburgh and Cardiff followed before his unique power again proved of enormous benefit off the bench in Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Saracens.

But the ankle didn’t hold up to the strain of just a month in the professional game, subsequently ruling him out for the remainder of the season.

Ferris won the last of his 35 Ireland caps in the 30-9 defeat to England at Twickenham in March 2012. He also toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 but following some excellent performances, a knee injury denied him any involvement in the Test series.

Ulster caps
A century of Ulster caps were compiled since 2005 and his enormous contribution for Ireland during the 2011 World Cup pool stages, particularly the victory over Australia at Ellis Park, guarantees him a place among our great backrowers.

Meanwhile, Anthony Foley’s home-grown Munster coaching ticket will see Brian Walsh oversee the backline, with Ian Costello in charge of defence and kicking from next season.

Jerry Flannery returns to Limerick from a strength and conditioning role with Arsenal to become the scrum coach while Mick O’Driscoll (technical advisor) and Niall O’Donovan (manager) are already in place.

Leinster have confirmed the signing of international secondrow Kane Douglas but his arrival may be delayed as he is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union until the end of 2014. Leinster, under a new policy brought from Leicester by head coach Matt O’Connor, refuse to reveal the length of the 24-year-old’s contract.

Dave Kearney is to undergo surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament tear next week, with an expected return to play in October. The province also revealed concussions suffered by Fergus McFadden and Brian O’Driscoll will not rule them out of the Pro12 final against Glasgow on Saturday week.

The IRFU yesterday released their ticket prices for the November internationals against South Africa (November 8th), Georgia (November 16th) and Australia (November 22nd).

Category one stand tickets for the Springbok and Wallaby Tests are €65, dropping down to €55 for category two, €40 for category three and €30 for category four. Premium level tickets for both games are €80.

Ticket prices for the Georgia game start at €12.50, going up to €30, with a premium seat costing €45. A premium package deal for all three games is €164 or €112.50 for two Tests including Georgia. A category one package costs €128 or €85.50.

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