Emotional Rory Best reflects on some of the best moments of his career
Rory Best said that the reception that he received from the Ulster fans following his British & Irish Lions snub in 2013 was one of his fondest memories at the club after announcing his decision to retire on Thursday.
Best will retire from professional rugby after 15 years with Ulster where he has amassed 219 appearances to date, scoring 23 tries.
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.
Best was initially overlooked for Warren Gatland's squad before later gaining selection as an injury replacement but the Ireland captain said that the support that he received from fans helped comfort him at a time where he had felt like he had let people down.
"In terms of the support that I've got here, in my opinion, it's been unparalleled to anywhere else," Best told URTV.
"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.
"Look they've been super to me right since that first cap. There has been a few big moments; I remember in 2013 not getting selected with the Lions and then having a week of not being sure if I wanted to show my face again. You kind of feel that you've let people down and I can't remember if I was coming off the pitch of coming on to the pitch, but I just remember the standing ovation I received from them and the support that both me and my family got from that.
"That is the sort of stuff that makes this place really, really special."
Best added that he felt like the end of the year was the right time for him to retire and that he hopes to leave the sport on top of his game.
“It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby as of the end of this season,” said Best.
“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.
“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.”