Stephen Ferris given new short-term deal

Ireland flanker has spent more than a year out through injury

Ulster have agreed another short-term contract extension with Stephen Ferris as he continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury.

Ferris has not played any rugby in over a year but the province will continue to support him as he bids to get back on the playing field before the end of the season.

Ulster would not reveal the extent of Ferris’s new deal but his previous contract, which was due to expire this January, ran for six months.

"Stephen has shown remarkable drive and determination over the past year as he has worked to overcome the injury that has kept him out for so long," Ulster's director of rugby David Humphreys said this evening.

“We are committed to helping him in every way possible and his new contract extension will mean that he will continue to have the best medical, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning teams around him, to help his recovery.”

The 28-year-old flanker has been plagued by knee and ankle injuries throughout his career and won his 35th and last cap for Ireland at Twickenham in March, 2012.

Ireland prop Declan Fitzpatrick has agreed a new two-year Irish contract that will keep him at Ravenhill until 2016.

“I am delighted to be staying at Ulster for a further two years,” the tighthead said today. “Both my family and I love living in Belfast so it is great to have our long-term future sorted out.

“I hope to make a significant contribution in the coming seasons and my aim next year is to nail down a starting place.”