Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has announced his plans to retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
The 36-year-old hooker has said he is excited for the rest of the season, but that it is the “right time” to bow out.
“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 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.”
Best is Ulster’s most capped international, having represented Ireland 116 times - winning the Six Nations four times, including two Grand Slams.
As captain, he led the side to their first ever win over New Zealand’s All Blacks in 2016 and to second in the world rankings.
Given his lengthy career and many accolades, Best was honoured with an OBE in 2017.
“I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people,” he added.
“And I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me.”