Sunday 28 May 2017

Home bird Ferris thrilled to sign new Ulster deal

Home bird Stephen Ferris has signed a two-year extension to his IRFU contract, committing him to Ulster until June 2013.

Despite some very attractive financial packages from England and France, Co Armagh-born Ferris prefers home cooking and local social life to an exotic lifestyle in the south of France.

The 25-year-old Ireland and Lions flanker is in the final year of his current contract, but negotiations were completed quickly and efficiently.

"It means everything to me," said Ferris, who made his Ulster debut at the start of the 2005 season. "This is home. I was born and raised here, and it will also keep my mum happy as she will have her son at home for another two years!

"I wanted negotiations to be done and dusted very quickly and that has been achieved. I didn't want it to affect my rugby in any way and fair play to the IRFU, they handled it very well.

"Ulster is the team I've always followed and I have a huge desire to achieve something big with the club. I don't want to leave Ulster without winning something.

Hungry

"I'm competing against top-quality players every single week for my place in the team. I've got to be absolutely on top of my game to ensure I'm selected and that challenge keeps me hungry and makes sure that I am working to be the best player I can be."

Ferris, a member of the 2009 Grand Slam side who won the first of his 20 Ireland caps against the Pacific Islands in 2006, said that the future of Ulster looks really good.

"In many ways, operations manager David Humphreys has made it very easy to stay," he said. "He has a vision for Ulster that I've bought into and he recruited well and built a squad that I'm delighted to remain a part of.

"Every season is a fresh start to an extent, but this season is different. There is a definite sense that this is the start of something special. There's a buzz around the squad and organisation as a whole, not just among the players and staff but among our supporters.

"Our young squad of players is growing up together and when you throw in the big names that have signed over the summer, I'm very optimistic that we will live up to our potential and excited that I'm going to be a part of it."

Irish Independent

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