Stephen Ferris and Declan Fitzpatrick sign new Ulster deals

Stephen Ferris

Ulster's Stephen Ferris has been handed a further opportunity to prove his fitness and continue his rehabilitation after securing a short-term contract.

No date has yet been set for the flanker's return from an ankle injury.

Meanwhile seven-times capped Ireland front row Declan Fitzpatrick has been handed a new two-year deal.

The tighthead prop, who made his debut for Ulster against Biarritz in 2006, has played 83 times for Ulster, scoring two tries.

Declan Fitzpatrick
Prop Declan Fitzpatrick has been troubled by injuries in recent seasons

The deal means that Fitzpatrick will remain at Ravenhill until at least the summer of 2016.

His last international cap came against the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium in November.

"Declan is a hugely important member of our squad and has proved at both provincial and international level that he is a top performer," said Ulster Director of Rugby David Humphreys.

"His opportunities have been restricted in recent seasons due to injury, so it is great to see him fully fit and playing some of the best rugby of his career."

Former British and Irish Lion Ferris has been out of action for 14 months after sustaining his injury against Edinburgh in November, 2012.

"Stephen has shown remarkable drive and determination over the past year as he has worked to overcome the injury that has kept him out for so long," continued Humphreys.

"We are committed to helping him in every way possible and his new contract extension will mean that he will continue to have the best medical, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning teams around him, to help his recovery."