East is east

Sayonara Stephen! Ferris ready for Japan adventure as Ulster admit defeat

Head coach Mark Anscombe admitted that the province’s inspirational flanker is set to leave this summer.

IT LOOKS LIKE Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris really is going to be big in Japan next season.

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe told the BBC today, at the province’s Pro12 press briefing, that the Ireland flanker will most likely leave when his IRFU contract expires on 30 June.

Asked if a move was imminent, Anscombe said, “Yeah, most probably at this stage – he is a great loss”. He added:

“I don’t know if it is signed or sealed at this stage – that’s for Stephen and his support team to make those decisions. We haven’t had a lot of him this season because of injury, but he is a world-class player.”

Ferris, who will miss the remainder of Ulster’s season due to a protracted recovery from an ankle injury was last pictured showing his support for boxer Carl Frampton last Friday:

Packing a punch: Ferris & Frampton. (©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd)

A BBC report last month revealed that an unnamed team had approached Ferris to play in Japan’s Top League. Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar told last week ‘it would be a massive loss for Ulster’ if the back-row were to depart in the summer.

Ferris played only four games for Anscombe and Ulster this season. He injured his ankle in a league game back in early November.

The 27-year-old had been released from the Ireland squad to play in the Pro12 fixture and increase his match fitness before the Autumn Series of Test matches.

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