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Stephen Ferris hopeful of featuring in Ulster Euro tie

Stephen Ferris
Stephen Ferris has been troubled with a knee injury

Stephen Ferris is hopeful that he will have recovered from a knee injury in time for Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Northampton on 10 April.

Ferris has missed Ireland's opening three matches in the Six Nations and will not feature in the upcoming games with Wales and England.

"The knee is on the mend and I'll see a specialist again next week for another assessment," said the Lions flanker.

"Hopefully he'll give me the go ahead to get back into training soon."

The blindside has been out of action since aggravating a problem with the joint during Ulster's victory over Aironi at the end of January.

In his absence, Leinster's Sean O'Brien has established himself in the number six shirt, producing a huge display in the victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Ferris' hopes of returning for the last two championship fixtures against Wales and England have been dashed.

His focus will therefore switch to regaining full fitness in time for Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final, the Irish province's first appearance at that stage of the competition since 1999.

"I think it's fair to say we can rule Stephen out of the rest of the Six Nations," said Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton.

On a brighter note for the Irish, scrum-half Tomas O'Leary may come back into the equation for the Wales game having missed the victory over Scotland with a back problem.

"Tomas is continuing rehab with his back and we are not ruling him out of any games at this stage," said McNaughton.

Lions full-back Rob Kearney has been ruled out of the championship as he is still suffering from a knee injury.

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see also
O'Leary returns to Ireland squad
06 Mar 11 |  Irish
D'Arcy wants Ireland improvement
28 Feb 11 |  Irish
Penalties still a worry for Irish
27 Feb 11 |  Irish
Scotland 18-21 Ireland
27 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ferris ruled out of Scotland game
18 Feb 11 |  Ulster
Ireland 22-25 France
13 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Italy 11-13 Ireland
05 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ferris adds to Irish injury woes
29 Jan 11 |  Irish
Ferris living his rugby dream
01 Feb 11 |  Irish
Humphreys happy with underdog tag
23 Jan 11 |  Ulster
Saints to face Ulster in quarters
23 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union

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