Five Ulster men ready to take on the world
The story ended perfectly for Ulster’s Famous Five — Rory Best, Tom Court, Stephen Ferris, Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble — when Ireland coach Declan Kidney named his 30-man World Cup squad at lunchtime.
The Ravenhill quintet’s inclusion was as expected, for with Ferris having come through unscathed after entering Saturday’s fray against France for the final quarter, that confirmed his readiness.
It was Ferris’s first on-pitch involvement since January when he suffered a serious knee injury while on Heineken Cup duty for Ulster, and having played no part in Ireland’s ill-fated 2007 World Cup campaign the big flanker was determined not to miss out on New Zealand.
“Just great to be back,” was his comment before — and, more significantly, after — Saturday’s Aviva Stadium Test, albeit that it ended in a 26-22 defeat.
Best will be under pressure to hold off Munster’s Jerry Flannery in the scrap for the hooker’s job, while front row colleague Tom Court knows he is third man in the props’ pecking order, with Cian Healy and Mike Ross the men ahead of him.
By virtue of a trio of impressive showings against Scotland and France, twice, on the past three Saturdays, Trimble has played his way up the ladder.
And given Kidney’s loyalty to Wallace — who ticks midfield and fly-half boxes — the fifth Ulsterman’s inclusion comes as no surprise.