April 18, 2019 / 9:44 AM / a month ago

Ireland captain Best to retire after World Cup in Japan

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Ireland - BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Britain - February 9, 2019 Ireland's Rory Best during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best announced on Thursday his retirement from professional rugby after this year’s World Cup in Japan.

“It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby as of the end of this season,” the 36-year-old hooker, who had previously flagged up his likely international retirement, said in a statement.

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

Best, whose contract expires after the September-November World Cup, has spent 15 seasons at the top level and helped Ireland win the Six Nations four times including two Grand Slam triumphs.

He has also toured Australia and New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and 2017 respectively and has 116 international caps.

Best also captained Ireland to their first win over New Zealand in 2016.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis

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