independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Legal issues won't affect World Cup form -- Ferris

STEPHEN Ferris is refusing to allow his off-field legal problems to ruin his World Cup dream.

The Ireland and Lions star last month pleaded not guilty to one charge of causing actual bodily harm and another of common assault in Belfast.

The charges date back to an incident on September 27, 2009 and a trial date is set for November, a month after the tournament in New Zealand finishes.

His older brother David has pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm on the same night. The flanker hinted he is hoping to bring the matter to a close before the kick off on September 11, but insists it won't affect his performance.

"That happened in 2009 and I've played some good rugby since then," he said. "I think it'll be cleared up fairly quickly. You just want it over with. I suppose it's being hanging over myself and my brother.

"It was difficult but for Ulster and Ireland, my focus has been good. Hopefully it will be sorted out before the World Cup."

A fully-focused Ferris would be a considerable boost to Declan Kidney and he will be heartened to hear the confidence with which the Ulster flanker states his World Cup ambitions.

"We can win the World Cup," he said. "We showed against England what we are all about. It is just about being consistent.

"We have got all the talent in the world. We have got experience, we have got youth, we have got players who have won trophies and we are just missing one. We definitely believe that we can go over there and win."

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