Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions back-row forward, Stephen Ferris, has today confirmed that he is to retire from rugby
Ulster and Ireland back-row forward Stephen Ferris has today confirmed his retirement from rugby.
The twenty-eight year old had been plagued by injury for years, and ultimately decided the time was right to walk away from the game. His career was dotted with success though, beginning with making 106 appearances for Ulster and 35 for his Province. Ferris made his debut for Ulster at twenty years old and was named the club’s player of the year in 2006.
The Hughes Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy graduate also started all five games in Ireland’s 2009 Grand Slam triumph. After that successful campaign with his country, he was also selected to play for the British & Irish Lions that summer. Injury prevented him from making any of the Test teams on that tour though.
From there, Ferris could never quite regain the electric form that had made him one of Ireland’s best players when he was healthy. In 2012 he injured his ankle in a RaboDirect PRO12 game against Edinburgh, and would not play again for sixteen months as he recovered from that injury. Upon his much talked about return earlier this season, coming on as a substitute versus Scarlets, he made some big hits to announce his return.
Sadly it wasn’t to last as he played just three more times for Ulster, the final occasion being the heartbreaking loss to Saracen’s in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup. Commenting on his retirement Ferris was extremely thankful of the opportunities he had been given to represent Ulster from such a young age.
“It is every young player’s dream to represent their Province and their country and I have been enormously privileged to have done both. I want to thank my teammates at Ulster and Ireland for the support they have given me.”
Ferris was also quick to acknowledge the efforts of the medical staff who helped him through his various setbacks and comebacks from injury. “I also want to thank the IRFU as well as the strength and conditioning coaches and medical staff at Ulster Rugby for all their hard work, patience and backing over the past year and a half.”
Ferris also thanked his family and girlfriend Laura who he called “A constant source of inspiration and encouragement.” Ulster’s Director of Rugby David Humphreys also heaped praise on the player.
A press conference at Ravenhill will take place later today with Ferris available to the media following his retirement.