The Ireland-England rivalry is as old as time. There's been some very feisty battles over the years and one player who knows about them all too well is Stephen Ferris.
The former Ireland and Ulster backrow, like many players rise to the occasion and get pumped up to play against certain players. While on The Buildup in association with Ladbrokes Ferris spoke about English players he loved and hated playing against throughout his career, both for fairly different reasons.
English Six Nations memories from Stephen Ferris.
Surprisingly, Ferris loved playing against James Haskell.
Some England players I loved playing against were the likes on James Haskell, who was a competitor of mine at under 19s, 21s, and even into the senior game. We were the same age so there was always a few battles for ulster vs Stade Francais and then we played against each other of course in Ireland vs England, there’s a couple of good photographs where we are nose to nose I think a bit of a scuffle broke out and Hask as he is throws his weight around.
He’s very muscular, he’s not very good at moving too quickly like and he turned around and it was me in front of him and we both got headgear on as well so it was like nose to nose and he was like “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that” and I went “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that”.
But straight after the match, James is the type of fella where he just laughs, he would embrace you and have a hug, ask “ how are you keeping? What’s the craic?”, you know those kind of things. Genuinely, I know he gets a little bit of a bad wrap for probably being annoying, whether on social media or in the jungle but he’s a really good lad, top fella and I have a lot of time for him.
Ferris didn't have such kind words for Haskell's former England teammate Dylan Hartley. The former England captain had a woeful disciplinary record throughout his career his second ban of his career came in 2012 when he was cited for biting Ferris' finger during England's match against Ireland at Twickenham in the Six Nations in 2012. It seems that both men haven't forgotten that scuffle.
So Dylan Hartley had an old gnarl at my pinky finger in that game in 2012. I've seen him a dozen times since that incident and he’s never even broken a breath to me, ignores me.
I was at the World Rugby dinner in London and i was sat beside Eddie Jones and there was like Maro Itoje and all the English lads at my table, I was the only non-English guy there and I think I was presenting an award or something and he sat down across the table and didn’t even break breath to me and I shook hands with everyone.
If after the game he just came up to me and said 'sorry about that. You were being really niggly on the ground and red just came over me, I’m sorry about that'' I would be like “no worries' ', shake his hand and bury the hatchet, but I would always hold a grudge against him now. Like anybody I speak to says he’s a really good guy, but I can’t say that because he’s never come up to me and been like sorry about it and if he did it now over 10 years later, I’ll be like grand because at least you had the balls to say sorry.
He got banned for a number of weeks and we all know that Dylan Hartley has a poor record when it comes to his discipline but yeah, if I see him again i’ll always say hi but you can be sure that I won’t get a reply.
It's #ENGvIRE week, so that means insight from former Ireland international Stephen Ferris ☘️💪
It's safe to say that one former England international isn't on the Christmas card list 👀
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It's fair to say there's no love lost between the two.