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'He's a massive man. If you stand beside him he absolutely dwarfs players'

By Ian Cameron

Trending on RugbyPass

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British & Irish Lions No.8 Jack Conan has been given a ringing endorsement by former tourist Stephen Ferris, who believes the back-rower has the physicality needed to face the Springboks.

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Conan was something of a long shot for the Lions and even admitted that making the plane to South Africa wasn’t on his radar at the start of the year. The 28-year-old has battled back from a number of injury complaints and cemented his place as Ireland’s future at No.8 after an injury to Caelan Doris opened the door to him starring in the Guinness Six Nations.

He’s now brought that form to the Lions tour, where his stats in South Africa have made him the standout candidate at No.8. His metres made, turnovers won, tackle count, tries and passing numbers have all put him at the top table in terms of Lions’ back row.

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“Rugby can be a funny sport at times, especially when a player like Caelan Doris gets injured and all of a sudden Jack Conan gets his opportunity and he grabs it,” said Ferris at a RugbyPass Fanzone LIVE Lions’ event at London Welsh.

“First of all, he’s a massive man. He’s a physical beast of a man. If you stand beside him he absolutely dwarfs players, so to have him at No.8, to lock those two second rows together. I think he will bring a serious physicality which is needed.

“He’s just going about his business he’s been brilliant for the Lions anytime he’s been given an opportunity. He’s the highest meters made so he’s making busts, he’s making tackles and I think thoroughly deserves his chance.

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“I think Faletau, we’ve seen him out on the wing carrying a few loose balls, but we haven’t see him do the hard yards, where I think Jack Conan has.”

“And Warren Gatland doesn’t particularly like Irish men, let’s call a spade a spade, but I think he’s made the right decision in picking Jack Conan, as he’s in form, he’s playing with lots of confidence and I think he’ll do a terrific job packing down at No.8.

The 6’4, 112kg Ferris, who was known for his ultra physical style of play says he was ‘in awe’ at the size of the Leinsterman.

“I stood beside him and he was wearing a tweed jacket and his chest was just puffed out like 10 inches further than mine. He was just standing there and I was in awe.”

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'He's a massive man. If you stand beside him he absolutely dwarfs players'

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