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Trophy hunt sees Ferris stay

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Sep 2010

Stephen Ferris insists it wasn’t cash but the chance to win major honours at his home province that kept him at Ravenhill.

Despite offers from big-spending English and Welsh clubs, the proud Ulsterman has pledged his future to the Belfast side for the next two years.

Now his contract is settled he has a number of major goals in mind – not least winning the Magners League with Ulster.

"Things are going really well here and we've got off to a terrific start to the season," said Ferris.

"There's now a level of expectation around this squad and I believe we can go on and win something in the near future.

"This is home, I was born and raised here, 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.

"We're still building but I think we are capable of winning the Magners League and shocking a few in Europe."

The resigning of Ferris is the latest coup for the province having already secured the services of Springbok trio Ruan Pienaar, Pedrie Wannenburg and Johann Muller.

"We have brought in three world-class players this season and we still have BJ Botha with us," added Ferris.

"We are moving forward in the right direction.

"It's always been difficult for us to compete against the big-spending English and French clubs, but the IRFU have found some extra cash for us and our new chief executive is making things happen here.

"There were a few clubs who showed interest in me but, with the World Cup just around the corner, I wanted to get things settled as soon as possible."


Stephen Ferris won't be leaving his beloved Ravenhill

Having dropped out of Ireland's summer tour due to a knee injury, Ferris feels he is now getting back to his best although he admits regaining his Ireland shirt will be a tough ask.

"It wasn't nice having to drop out of Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand and Australia and it is always difficult watching someone else wearing your shirt on the international stage.

"Competition for back row places in Ireland is really intense and I know I've got a fight on my hands to get back into the team. Dennis Leamy is back fit at Munster, Kevin McLaughlin will be back in a few weeks after shoulder surgery and now we've got Rhys Ruddock stepping into the mix along with John Muldoon.

"They’re just a few of the contenders from the four Irish provinces. I have 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.

"I’m feeling really good and I got a good bit of fitness and weights under my belt last week. I’m definitely a lot fitter after a 10-week pre-season and maybe missing the summer tour will do me well in the long run over the next couple of years."