Ulster and Ireland's Rory Best to retire after World Cup

Heading off Rory Best is retiring from international and provincial rugby this year after an illustrious career with Ireland and Ulster

Heading off Rory Best is retiring from international and provincial rugby this year after an illustrious career with Ireland and Ulster

He will walk away from the game at the end of this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan and he took some time to reflect on his career with Ulster and Ireland with several moments standing out to him.

Ireland begin their campaign against Scotland on September 22 and are among the favourites for the World Cup after a magnificent 2018 saw them win a Six Nations Grand Slam and defeat the All Blacks on home soil.

Best became Ireland's first-choice hooker at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Appointed Irish skipper in 2016, the Armagh man led the team to historic wins over New Zealand in Chicago and Dublin and an all time high of second in the world rankings.

It was while on the 2017 tour that Best received an OBE in the Queen's birthday honors list.

He has been capped 116 times by his country and won the Six Nations four times, including Grand Slams in 2009 and 2018. "During a match, players turn to Rory for leadership and direction".

At club level, he won the PRO12 with Ulster in 2006, and has scored 23 tries in 219 appearances for the club following his debut in 2004. However, as recently as the week following Ulster's Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster, Best was undecided as to whether or not he would play another season for the province.

The 36-year-old, who said in March he was "fairly certain" he'd call it a day, announced with mix feelings he would be hanging up his boots.

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"This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged", Best said.

"I think everywhere you go now with the Ireland captaincy and the profile of Ulster, people recognise you and they want to congratulate you on your career".

"I knew he was looking at me thinking, "Yeah right, wise up".

"I started every game in '18 and I obviously felt like I played a large part in that success".

"It's a bit of a relief as it's been a hot topic for a while, but it's [still] a hard thing to come out and say".

"I think if you give so much to something it is very hard to say goodbye to it".

Ireland face Six Nations rivals, Scotland, in their RWC pool.

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