Ireland confirm Ferris to miss Six Nations
Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris has, as expected, been ruled out for the rest of this year's RBS Six Nations campaign.
Ferris has been struggling with a persistent knee problem, which he aggravated while on Heineken Cup duty for the Ravenhill men against Aironi in January.
The 26-year-old is to see a consultant in London to examine the true extent of the problem but has been told he will play no part in the remainder of this season's tournament.
Ireland manager Paul McNaughton confirmed that Ferris is now focusing on getting fit in time for his province’s European quarter-final against Northampton on April 10.
“He is down for a consultant's visit to London this weekend and they will know more after that,” said McNaughton.
“It is too early to write him out of Ulster’s Heineken Cup game at this stage of his recovery.”
Meanwhile, Rob Kearney yesterday resisted the temptation of a lucrative move to France by signing a new two-year contract with Leinster and Ireland.
The Lions full-back is believed to have been offered more than €500,000 to move to a Top 14 club after this year's World Cup, but instead Kearney put pen to paper on a deal that will see him stay at the RDS until 2013.
The 24-year-old joined team-mates Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, Brian O'Driscoll, Fergus McFadden and Jonny Sexton in snubbing interest from abroad to commit their futures to the province.
Kearney has not played since he suffered a serious knee injury in Ireland's November defeat to New Zealand and has twice undergone surgery on the damaged leg.
The Louthman is hopeful of a return in time for Leinster's Heineken Cup showdown with Leicester at the Aviva Stadium next month.
“We want to keep all our players at home,” Ireland coach Declan Kidney said yesterday.