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Ulster’s ups and downs will help Ferris respond

Guinness PRO12 Editor

26 Feb 2010

Star flanker Stephen Ferris believes his experiences with Ulster will help him respond positively to Ireland’s defeat to France.

Ireland take on England at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon and Ferris has no doubts that he and the rest of his international team-mates will bounce back from their disappointment in Paris.

Ferris has become one of Ulster’s most influential players since his first-team debut against Border Reivers in October 2005 but the province haven’t always fulfilled their potential during his four-and-a-half years in the side. 

His promotion to a regular member of the Ireland starting line up has resulted in a stunning run for Declan Kidney’s men but Ferris has had to take the rough with the smooth as far as the 2006 Magners League Champions are concerned.

“For me, I have been fortunate enough in that I haven’t lost too many with Ireland in the last 18 months,” said Ferris. 

“At Ulster there have been a lot of ups and downs over the years and I feel like I’ve dealt with those really well. A small blip like the France game should be fine with me. 

"We were very disappointed and frustrated with how we performed in Paris. We went over the videos last week just to see what we have to do better this week.

“We didn’t become a bad side overnight – it’s been easy to move on. We’ve got a lot of experience in the squad and we have all lost games in the past.” 

Ferris will link up with fellow Magners League stars and 2009 Lions tourists David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip at English Rugby’s HQ, with the trio clashing with James Haskell, Lewis Moody and Nick Easter in the battle of the back rows.

The 24-year-old has plenty of healthy respect for the Stade Francais, Leicester and Harlequins combination, particularly their ball-carrying ability, but he admits that the quality of the players around him make it easy not to get carried away with those of his opponents. 

“They are all fine players, no doubt about that. They are very good ball carriers," added Ferris, who made his international debut against the Pacific Islanders in November 2006.

“They get around the park very well. Nick Easter is a very good footballer and a great line-out option as well. There is no doubt that they are a very strong back row.

“Having said that, if we can perform like we have done in the past in our own back row then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.”