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Wise guy Ferris

STEPHEN Ferris has bad news for England -- he's getting better, stronger and smarter.

The Ulster hero will line out for Ireland against Martin Johnson's men at Twickenham tomorrow with the Triple Crown still very much within their grasp and victory at the home of English rugby would put one hand on that honour.

Ferris believes the experiences he picked up last summer while in South Africa with the Lions are starting to weigh in his and Ireland's favour, none more so than how he prepares for big games -- and they don't come much bigger than a trip to Twickers.

A knee injury sustained in training ended his involvement in the early stages of the 2009 South Africa tour and Ferris says because of that he has become a more intelligent player.

"Maybe I didn't have to make that tackle in training," he admitted. "I tried to empty the guy and then somebody fell on top of me.

"If I'd just smothered him up I could have had three Tests under my belt. Maybe I need to be a wee bit smarter in training."

He added: "It's just about getting the right balance. I've learnt that if you go flat out in training every week you'll come to the game and you'll be tired.

"So now I just try to get myself ready gradually -- build it up and build it up until you're ready to explode come the game day."

And the flanker says that exploding on the English is exactly what he plans to do.

"That's who I am. That's me. I don't really leave anything behind. If I make a tackle I go at it 100 per cent. I can't give 50 percent or 60 per cent. I give everything and that's what I'll be trying to do this weekend," he said.

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"I know how to get under guys' skin, that's for sure, but I let my play do the talking and hopefully I'll be able to do that this weekend.

"Having played with a good few of the English lads when I was out with the Lions they know how I play, and how a good few of our other lads will play, but they'll have respect for us, that's for sure."

Source: Belfast telegraph