There's rumours that Stephen Ferris has been approached by a Japanese club, and twitter seems all doom and gloom about it.
There should be no doom and gloom. This is a great idea and will benefit all parties. Here's why.
From a financial point of view, playing in Japan is going to earn Ferris big bucks. But more than that, from a playing style, Japanese rugby is far less physical than the Rabo and the Heineken Cup. And a year away from that given Fez's injury woes would do him the world of good. It might even prolong his career.
There have been doubts as to whether he'll be able to come back, and how effective he can be from this latest injury. He plays such a physical game that he can't last much longer. A year in Japan will mean he can get back to match fitness in an less demanding environment and be able to return to Ulster and Ireland for the World Cup in 2015.
And as Tameti Ellison, Brad Thorn and George Smith have proved, you can come back and be just as effective after playing in Japan.
Ulster & Ireland:
Stephen Ferris is nigh on irreplaceable. When he plays, he is a colossus for club and country. It's just that he doesn't play very often, and both Ulster and Ireland have had to plan without him for large periods over the last 4 years. So while he would be a big loss, he's been a big loss already and Ulster seem to be dominating without him.
Financially, it means that the IRFU has more money in the coffers, or that someone else is going to get a centralised contract, which means that one of the provinces retains more money.
Above all else, having Stephen Ferris fit, and turning world class superstars into teddy bears again is what all Irish fans want to see. And this would be the best option for all involved to see that happen again, and for as long as possible. Japanese rugby would no doubt be getting a fantastic player, and one who if he doesn't go, may not last too much longer. This is a great idea, and should happen.