Man and Ball

Man and Ball

My Autobiography



'When I came into the Ulster team,' Stephen Ferris says with typical candour, 'we were crap'. It was, however, preferable to his day job of paving driveways, and that day in 2005 saw the start of an incredible journey for Ferris, Ulster and Ireland rugby. A Celtic League title in his very first senior season with Ulster. A Grand Slam in 2009, followed by a sensational Lions breakthrough. A starring role in Ireland's greatest World Cup win, over Australia in 2011, when Ferris famously picked up Will Genia and carried him ten yards. And leading Ulster from nowhere to the Heineken Cup final.

Stephen Ferris had an incredible rugby career, tragically ended by ankle injuries so severe they will never properly heal. He is an inspiration to the population of Ulster, an emblem of the sport that serves as such a positive expression of its culture and identity, and earned the respect and admiration of fans across Ireland for his strength, pace, skill and courage. Fearless, funny and full of an incredible array of stories from behind the scenes of Ulster, Ireland and the Lions, this is the must-have rugby book of the year.


  • Written in a colloquial style that reassures you this is Ferris's story in his own words, this is a cracking read... compelling.
    Rugby World, Book of the Month

About the author

Stephen Ferris

Stephen Ferris was born on 2 August 1985 and grew up in the small village of Maghaberry, near Lisburn. After excelling at the javelin, he settled on rugby and became the only player not from the traditional schools system to make it into the Ulster academy. Quickly established as the province's best prospect, he played for the Ireland Under-20s at the 2005 World Cup and made his senior Ulster debut in October of that year.

Ferris went on to make more than 100 appearances for Ulster, winning the Celtic League in 2006, when he was named Ulster Player of the Year, and taking them to the final of the Heineken Cup in 2012 as they established themselves as one of the top teams in Europe.

After making his Test debut in 2006, he won 35 caps for Ireland, winning the Grand Slam in 2009, when he also toured South Africa with the British & Irish Lions, and reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2011. He retired from playing in June 2014 after a long battle with injury.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more