Ferris blasts England's 'bad losers'
Ireland hardman Stephen Ferris has opened hostilities ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash at Twickenham by branding England "bad losers".
Ireland have dominated the fixture over the last 10 years, winning seven of the previous eight meetings in the Six Nations, including three of the last four at Twickenham.
"They come with bit of a tag about being arrogant and if you asked any team they'd probably say the same thing," said Ferris. "They're a good side and are full of winners, but when they lose they don't like it. They're bad losers and hopefully they'll be bad losers on Saturday."
Ferris stresses that he is on good terms with those England players he met while on the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa and admires what they have achieved in this Six Nations.
Memories of a shambolic World Cup have been replaced by a wave of optimism generated by the unexpected success seen under interim head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Under Lancaster's guidance, England have beaten France in Paris, narrowly lost to Grand Slam-chasing Wales and retain an outside chance of winning the title.
"I went on the Lions tour and got to know a few of England's players," said Ferris, who missed training on Tuesday due to an ankle problem.
"I got on so well with them and had an awful lot of respect for them. I became good friends with some of them.
"England are a good side at the moment and are very hard to break down. Saturday will be two good teams going against each other, but we're also looking forward to getting that result."
Ferris' back row colleague Sean O'Brien will start against England despite having spent last week in hospital recovering from a skin infection on his foot.