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Ireland & Lions flanker Stephen Ferris retires because of chronic ankle injury

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DUBLIN - Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris has been forced to retire because of a chronic right ankle injury.

After damaging the ankle in a Pro12 game with Ulster in November 2012, Ferris was sidelined for 16 months. He came back at the tail of the season but hurt the ankle again and gave up trying to shake it off.

Knee injuries, mainly, limited Ferris to 35 caps for Ireland, but he featured in all five games of the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam, and starred in the win over Australia at the 2011 World Cup to reach the quarterfinals. Injury also forced him home early from the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

"We knew from the day and hour that he walked into the academy that he was an exceptional talent," Ulster rugby director David Humphreys said on Tuesday. "He developed into one of the best forwards in the world game."

Ferris said: "I have had a great career, met many wonderful people, and I hang up the boots with no regrets."

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