Is Stephen Ferris about to turn Japanese after all?
It sounded like a far-fetched rumour when first mooted a couple of weeks back, but it seems as if Stephen Ferris’ proposed move to Japan could materialise after all.
The Ulster and Ireland flanker, who has been absent for the majority of this season with an ankle injury (a quick look at these pictures will show you why he has been out for so long), is out of contract with the IRFU at the end of the season and is said to be seriously considering a lucrative move to an unnamed club in Japan, where the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, George Smith and Brad Thorn have picked up big pay cheques in recent years.
According to today’s Irish Independent, Ferris will be offered a new contract by the IRFU but given his chequered injury record in the last few years it will be heavily dependent on the amount of games he is able to play for province and country.
When fit and able, Ferris is one of the most fearsome flankers in the game thanks to his speed, his size and his ability to bulldoze opponents and he is said to have attracted interest from French clubs as well as from Super Rugby clubs Down Under.
A move to Japan, however, where the season consists of only 13 games and where they’re trying to give rugby a higher profile ahead of the 2019 World Cup, has emerged as a likelier destination for the 27-year old, who would still be available for Ireland if he ends up making the move east.
Rugby fans were given a lesson into the dangers of reading too much into speculation yesterday when Luke Fitzgerald’s proposed move to Munster was nipped in the bud fairly quickly, so until is officially confirmed, when asked if Ferris is actually tuning Japanese we can just say we (really) think so.