Page last updated at 05:43 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 06:43 UK

Lion 'hopes he did Ulster proud'

Stephen Ferris
Ferris scored his second try of the tour against the Cheetahs

Ulster's only representative on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa has said he hopes he has made the people in his native province proud.

Stephen Ferris is on his way back to Northern Ireland after tearing a knee ligament while training on Monday.

The 23-year-old had impressed on the tour and was in contention for the number six jersey for the first Test against South Africa on 20 June.

Ferris, a former pupil of Friends School in Lisburn, scored two tries in two games and was also awarded man of the match for his performance against the Free State Cheetahs.

"It was just one one of those things, a very unfortunate injury in training," the Ireland Grand Slam winner said.

"It was the last drill in the training session and I got twisted the wrong way and that was it, my medial ligaments went on me.

To score on my debut and to back it up the following week with a man of the match performance and another try was great. I hope I did the people proud back in Ulster.
Stephen Ferris

"I got a grade two tear and it wasn't looking too good at the time and then the scan confirmed that I would be missing out.

"When it first happened, I thought I could bounce back up and keep going and then after about 10 seconds, I realised it was a bit sorer than I first thought.

"The doctors were with me straight away and they got me to the hospital for a scan and unfortunately it showed up what they expected.

"I'm back doing rehab already and I'm off the crutches so I'm up walking about.

"I was in the gym this morning, did a few squats and hopefully, in a week or two, it will be strengthened up again and I will be able to get back into the swing of things."

Ferris said that he was disappointed to be going home early after having made such a promising start to his Lions career.

"It was great, but I'm a bit deflated now after such a stupid injury in training put me out for the rest of the tour.

Stephen Ferris during a pre-tour training session
The flanker is a former pupil of Friends School in Lisburn

"It is pretty gutting, but I did have a few highlights along the way and to get a couple of tries for the Lions is fantastic.

"To score on my debut and to back it up the following week with a man of the match performance and another try was great."

"I hope I did the people proud back in Ulster. It was such a privilege to play for the Lions.

"I think my first try on my debut was a bit lucky, a couple of the guys counter-rucked pretty well and I picked the ball up and fortunately I had the legs to get close to the sticks.

"It was a great feeling and a great buzz after the game and I knew I played quite well.

"Then to get my first start against the Cheetahs, I was looking to make an impression and give it 100%, but I got a yellow card early on which didn't help things.

"It was a great experience for me and it is definitely a highlight of my career being over here.

"I have made a lot of friends out here and I will carry on those relationships when I get back."



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