10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Ferris had an arthroscopy performed on his knee after injuring it playing in the summer tour's second Test against Argentina in June. He has had a good pre-season of rehabilitation and at this point is not a major injury concern.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "It is a big disappointment for Stephen not to be taking part in the game as I know he was looking forward to getting a chance to come on and perform in front of the Ulster crowd. The most prudent course of action was not to risk him being so close to the World Cup and allow the knee time to settle down."