Ulster and Ireland's Stephen Ferris forced to retire from rugby at the age of 28 7 years ago

Ulster and Ireland's Stephen Ferris forced to retire from rugby at the age of 28

Stephen Ferris has been forced to retire from professional rugby at the age of 28.

Ferris won 35 caps for Ireland and made 106 appearances for Ulster, but was ruled out for 16 months after suffering an ankle injury against Edinburgh in the RaboDirect PRO12 in November 2012.

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The back-row forward did return to play towards the end of last season, last playing in Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Saracens at Ravenhill, but has now decided to call it a day.

Ferris said: “It is every young rugby player’s dream to represent their Province and their country and I have been enormously privileged to have done both.

“I have shared a pitch with so many talented players over the past nine years and I want to thank my team-mates at Ulster and Ireland for the support that they have given me.

“I also want to thank the IRFU as well as the strength and conditioning coaches and medical team at Ulster Rugby, for all their hard work, patience and backing over the past year and a half.

“Finally, I would like to thank my family – my mum Linda and my dad Robert who helped me on the journey from playing rugby as a young kid at Portadown to lining out for the British and Irish Lions. My girlfriend Laura has been and remains a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.

“I have had a great career, met many wonderful people and I hang up the boots with no regrets.”

Ulster’s Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, said: “I would like to thank Stephen for the outstanding contribution that he has made to Ulster Rugby.

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“We knew from the day and hour that he walked into the Academy that he was an exceptional talent. Through dedication and hard work he developed into one of the best forwards in the world game.

“He has always played an important leadership role within the squad and he helped mentor and inspire others.

“While we are sorry to be losing Stephen, we recognise and celebrate the exceptional rugby career that he has had and wish him every success in the future.”