Ulster and Ireland international hooker Rory Best has announced that he retire from the sport after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Best will call it a day with a list of massive honours beside his name and will go down as one of the best hookers to play the game in World Rugby for sure. Rory played for Banbridge RFC and also with Portadown College and Belfast Harlequins. He made his professional debut for Ulster in 2004 and has made 219 appearances for the club with a couple of more appearances likely now giving Ulster’s performances in the Guinness PRO 14. He won a Celtic League with the province in 2005/06.
With Ireland he has made 116 appearances, meaning he is Ulster’s most capped international player in history. He has scored 10 tries, he has 4 Six Nations Championships to his name, which include two Grand Slams. Best helped Ireland as captain to their first ever success over New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 also. He was a part of the British and Irish Lions squads in 2013 and 2017 when they travelled to Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking about the announcement of his retirement he said, “It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby 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 Rugby 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”. The Ulster supremo continued and thanked all the coaches and everyone at Ulster rugby throughout his career, he said ” 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 Rugby, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster Rugby, and now look forward to supporting Ulster Rugby in the future with my family.”
Ulster Operations Director Bryan Cunningham had also superb words to say about Best. He said “No player representing Ulster Rugby has had a more profound impact in the professional era than Rory.”When Rory enters the room, everyone waits for his words. On the training pitch, he demands high standards at all times. During a match, players turn to Rory for leadership and direction. He has been our all-encompassing talismanic figure for more than a decade. “Rory’s ability to not only stay at the top, but also fight his way through adversity, shows the strength of character he possesses”.
We wish Rory all the luck in the future and wish him the best of luck for the World Cup.
Video from Ulster Rugby Youtube