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Premier Sports, the home of every game in the Guinness PRO14, has announced that it has secured another big rugby name to join its broadcast team in Northern Ireland – ahead of a thrilling weekend of derby action in the Guinness PRO14.

The Ulster and Ireland back row, Stephen Ferris, joins a stellar cast of 20 trusted rugby experts bringing Premier Sports customers the very best analysis, commentary and inside track for all 152 Guinness PRO14 games this season with seven live games across the Championship aired on its channels every weekend.

In Northern Ireland, Stephen will be working alongside the respected and talented Ulster trio of Mark Robson, Graham Little and Andrew Trimble and will get his debut on TV with the Premier Sports team at Ulster’s big home fixture against Connacht on Friday evening at Kingspan (Oct 5th kick off 7.35pm).

With 106 appearances for Ulster and 35 caps for Ireland including a 2009 Grand Slam title, Stephen Ferris retired from rugby in June 2014. He played in all three back row positions for Ulster and was an inspiring leader in their rugby set-up, earning the admiration and respect of supporters across Ireland with his strength, bravery, pace and skill.

Stephen Ferris said: “I’m excited to get started this weekend.  Premier Sports has added something of great value to Guinness PRO14 with every single game live each weekend – it’s brilliant for the Championship to give supporters that much coverage with all the games easy to find in one place. That commitment, ambition and access from a broadcaster can only be good for the future of the PRO14 and it’s great to hear people talking about games across the competition, not just in their own team. People’s knowledge, interest and understanding of the opposition teams will grow as a result, which again is a real positive for the Championship.

Known for his straight-talking honesty and candour, Stephen added: “I think most people associate me with being very upfront and honest – that’s two things of many I’ve been called in the past! But I’ve always believed it’s really important that you can look yourself in the mirror afterwards and be comfortable that you have said it like it is.

“Of course it’s tricky when you watch your team play and have to give a view, you have good relationships with the players, you’re passionate about your team and you don’t want to offend anyone. But it’s a balancing act and the supporters watching want honest, frank, open views.  For me, the key is doing your homework, making sure you’re well-prepared and keeping up-to-date by talking to players and people in the game. It can be tough when you retire from the game to make the transition from being a player, so being involved in live broadcasts and close to the action watching the team you committed to for so many years, is the next best thing to being a player or coach on the field.

“Premier Sports has brought together a very strong team of presenters and commentators – there’s some real legends in their line-up and I’m really looking forward working alongside Graham (Little), Mark (Robson) and Andrew (Trimble) as well as with guys like Rory Lawson and Jim Hamilton in other regions who I know well.  Being reunited with them will be brilliant, and should make for some entertaining broadcasts!”

On Ulster’s season so far and their approach to Friday night’s big derby against Connacht at Kingspan Stadium, Stephen said: “It’s been a positive start for Ulster, they’ve shown some good resilience in the first couple of games and going to South Africa early in the season and putting in good performances is a plus, with all the travel involved.

“Of course it was really disappointing, a bit of a reality check and shock last weekend against a fired-up Munster side and hats off to the hosts they put in a strong performance.

“That said, I think Ulster will bounce back in front of a home crowd, they have a few big names coming back who will give the team a boost and if they needed any added motivation last week’s defeat will be something they want to put right.

“Big match nights are always a great occasion at the Kingspan Stadium, the atmosphere is brilliant with families coming out together and really enjoying themselves. The crowds will get behind this team if they start well, and we hope to see Ulster playing entertaining rugby and making these home games their focus putting opposition to the sword and establishing a strong and intimidating home record.”

Premier Sports signed a landmark three-year deal with PRO14 Rugby to show all 152 games live each season across the UK including Northern Ireland.

Premier Sports, is the home of the Guinness PRO14 in the UK and will be showing all 152 games from the Guinness PRO14 this season. Rugby fans can subscribe on Sky or the Premier Sports Player for £9.99 per month with the first month free. Premier Sports is also available on Virgin Media for just £9.99 per month. Visit www.premierports.com to sign up to see all the live action. Customers on other TV services should contact their operator. 

Premier Sports is available in 16 million UK homes across Sky and Virgin platforms and to everyone via the Premier Player https://www.premierplayer.tv/ while FreeSports will be available to 22 million UK homes this season across seven different platforms.

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