Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Ulster's Stephen ferris targets World Cup after injury misery

Ulster's Stephen Ferris

Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris is ready to stake his claim for a place in Declan Kidney’s World Cup squad after finally winning his battle with a knee injury that has kept him out of action for six months.

There had been speculation that Ferris’s career might be in the balance, but the Ravenhill favourite has rehabilitated well — after undergoing an operation on his troublesome left knee — and he hopes to fight his way back to full fitness in time for Ireland’s World Cup warm-up games next month.

“Six months . . . it honestly seems like two or three years but everyone has dark periods in their career,” Ferris said.

“My primary goal is to get fit to make the plane (to New Zealand) and I’m not going to get on that plane if I’m half fit and it’s as simple as that.

“It’s been baby steps, but I’m now feeling good and feeling fresh and ticking every box.”

The 25-year-old broke down last January, after aggravating an old injury while playing for Ulster, and missed Ireland’s entire Six Nations campaign as well as all Ulster’s remaining games.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though because Ferris has returned to pitch-based running work with Ulster following on from a four-week gym-based programme.

Ferris added that his World Cup preparations won’t be distracted by a court case scheduled for November.

Ferris and his older brother David recently appeared in Belfast Crown Court, with the Irish ace denying assaualting two men in September 2009.

When asked if it would impact on his World Cup dream, he said: “No, not at all. I think it will be cleared up very quickly. You just want it over with. I suppose it’s been hanging over myself and my brother.”

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