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Ferris has no regrets in retirement

Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris insists he is leaving rugby with no regrets after confirming his retirement from the sport on Tuesday following a long battle with an ankle injury.

The British and Irish Lion suffered serious ankle damage in PRO12 action for Ulster against Edinburgh in November 2012 which sidelined him for 16 months.

The 28-year-old fought back to make three Ulster appearances this term, but has since suffered a recurrence of the same issue.

The 35-cap loose forward had hoped to shake off the problem once and for all and secure a new Ravenhill deal, yet he has now been forced to admit defeat.

"It is every young rugby player's dream to represent their province and their country and I have been enormously privileged to have done both," said the 2009 Grand Slam winner in a club statement.

"I have had a great career, met many wonderful people and I hang up the boots with no regrets."

Injury robbed Ferris of a Test place on the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa, one of few gaps in an impressive CV.

Ferris made his senior Ulster debut in 2005, quickly establishing himself at both provincial and international level.

Ulster rugby director David Humphreys said of the bullish back-rower: ''We knew from the day and hour that he walked into the Academy that he was an exceptional talent. Through dedication and hard work he developed into one of the best forwards in the world game."

While Ferris calls time on his career, his former Ireland colleagues are preparing for the first of two Tests against Argentina this month.

Argentina are resting many of their frontline players for the matches, the opener of which takes place at the Estadio Centenario in Resistencia this weekend, but Ireland prop Mike Ross believes the Pumas will still provide stern opposition.

On what Ireland can expect from their hosts, Ross said: "The same thing we always get from Argentina, a hard physical performance.

"I know they are missing a lot of their big names but the team they have got has just come off a good run of six or seven victories in a row against teams like the Waratahs A and a good few professional sides.

"They won't have the Lobbes or some of the big names you come to expect when you are playing Argentina in Argentina but it doesn't make it an easy game by any means.

"We have got some video of some of their games so we will be looking to go with that over the next couple of days and make sure we know what each player is going to bring," said the 34-year old.

The Leinster tighthead, an ever-present for Ireland in the last four RBS Six Nations campaigns, goes into the tour on the back of winning another RaboDirect PRO12 medal last weekend but he is disappointed that team-mate Marty Moore had to withdraw because of injury.

"It was really bad timing, he has been going really well this season, putting me under a hell of a lot of pressure and he was probably in line to get his first start at one point during this season, but with him going out it gives the opportunity to Rodney Ah You, who has been going really well with Connacht this season," said Ross.

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek believes it is a great opportunity for Ah You to make a mark on the international scene.

"I'm a bit disappointed for Marty with his toe, it's a shame for him but, having said that, it's a good chance to look at Rodney and see what he brings," said Feek.

"He's a big man, 124kg, and in terms of the scrum if he can anchor that tighthead, that's his role on tour for us.

"He's got Mike Ross there at the other end of the spectrum with a lot of experience and he can learn off him and Rory Best as well, so it will be interesting to see how he goes and get to know him a little bit."


From Belfast Telegraph