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Ferris Focused On The Physical Stakes

Ferris Focused On The Physical Stakes

Stephen Ferris is enjoying his best run to date in the Ireland squad and the big Ulster back rower, always one for a big hit, cannot wait to take on a strong-looking Pumas pack at Croke Park this Saturday.

The final Test in the GUINNESS Series 2008 will see Ireland and Argentina renew a rivalry that stretches back 18 years.

Ireland’s players will not be looking to the past come kick-off time however.

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Of more pressing concern is just how crucial a win is this weekend in terms of the seedings for next month’s 2011 Rugby World Cup draw and the fact that the Pumas have won the sides’ last three meetings.

Stephen Ferris was involved in two of those defeats and weighing in at over 17 stone, he is anticipating some big collisions in the crunch Croke Park tie.

Seven of Argentina’s starting forwards tip the scales at 16 stone or more, with tighthead prop Juan Pablo Orlandi, who will win his third cap on Saturday, the heaviest at 19st 6lbs.

Ferris will have a two-stone advantage over his direct opponent, Pumas blindside Martin Durand, but knows it is all about what happens on the day.

“I really relish the physicality and it’s something I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” he said.

“Argentina bring many different players that offer many different things. That’s one thing for sure that the Argentinians will bring is a physical game.

“I think the back row we’ve got, with Wally (David Wallace) and Jamie (Heaslip), will be itching to get into them.”

Ferris’ selection at number 6 is ‘on merit’, according to Ireland coach Declan Kidney whose plans have been upset by Alan Quinlan’s three-week suspension for stamping.

Having won the man-of-the-match award in the opening win over Canada and been used as a replacement against the All Blacks, Ferris is determined to end the series on a high and cement his place in the starting line-up.

“I’ve been training well. I played well in my first game against Canada so I would have been disappointed if I had been left out of the squad, but last week I wasn’t involved (from the start),” the 23-year-old explained.

“Alan deserved his chance last week and I deserved a chance the previous week before that, so it’s just great to be given another massive opportunity (against Argentina) in a pretty important game.”

Asked about the approach to his eighth Ireland outing, Ferris said he will try to keep up his high standard of play and help Ireland to a much-needed victory.

“I think we have to concentrate on ourselves this week. Maybe last week we took an eye off ourselves.

“You know this week we maybe just concentrate on our own game – just getting through phases and putting the Argentinians under pressure – get a few points on the board and get our confidence going.

“Personally I’m just really looking forward to this opportunity. I’m just going to go out and play the way I do every week – not do anything stupid and just give it 100 percent,” he added.