Rory Best: Ireland and Ulster captain to retire after World Cup
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 18/04/19 12:16pm
Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has confirmed he will retire from rugby when his contract expires after the World Cup in Japan.
The 36-year-old has won 116 caps for his country and has helped them to four Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams.
The hooker has spent his entire senior career with Ulster and has made 219 appearances since making his debut in 2004.
Best said: "It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster as of the end of this season."
"This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged.
"I am very excited for the end of the season with Ulster and for the upcoming World Cup with Ireland, both of which I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game.
"In my 15 years at this brilliant club, I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people, and I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me since 2004.
"I grew up supporting Ulster, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster, and now look forward to supporting Ulster in the future with my family."
Best is currently sidelined with an ankle injury he suffered against Leinster last month, and it is unclear whether he will be fit to play for Ulster before the end of the campaign.
They have a maximum of four matches remaining this season, starting with a home game against Leinster in the final round of PRO14 fixtures on April 27 before the play-offs begin on the weekend of May 3/4.
Ulster are guaranteed to finish second in Conference B, while Connacht are guaranteed to finish third in Conference A, meaning they will meet in the play-offs at the Ravenhill Stadium on the weekend of May 3/4.