Stephen Ferris poised to make return to playing for Ulster

Ulster's Stephen Ferris
Ulster's Stephen Ferris
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Backrow forward Stephen Ferris is in line to make a return to playing with Ulster after a 15 month- layoff battling with an ankle injury.

The talismanic figure looks set to pull on the Ulster jersey for the first time since November 2012 against Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 rearranged fixture at Ravenhill on Friday, March 14.

The British Lion flanker may get a run-out on Monday in a shadow inter-pro when Ulster Ravens play Leinster at Belfast Harlequins Deramore Park.

If there was no adverse reaction he could the be named on the replacements bench for Ulster’s rearranged RaboDirect PRO12 fixture against Scarlets at Ravenhill on Friday, March 14.

Ferris (28) last played in an Ulster shirt against Edinburgh in the RaboDirect PRO12 on November 2 when he made his 102nd appearance.

He suffered an ankle injury in the 46th minute and it is something he has battled with since, undergoing two operations to correct the problem.

In spite of the injury, Ulster and the IRFU have kept faith in the powerful specialist blindside loose forward by offering him consecutive contract extensions as he aimed to prove his fitness.

There were fears at one point that Ulster and Irish fans would never see the popular figure play again - but after months and months of hard work and endeavour, plus excellent management from the Ulster medical team, Ferris looks set to make his long awaited return to playing.

It will be a massive boost for Ulster to have Ferris back in the mix and his timing could not be better as Ulster go into a massive block of fixtures which included a Heineken Cup home quarter-final against Saracens on April 5 - the game being the first to be played in front of a record 17,000 fans in the new look Ravenhill stadium.