Rory Best 'fairly certain' he will retire after World Cup 7 months ago

Rory Best 'fairly certain' he will retire after World Cup

Ulster fans would have been hoping Best would have seen out the 2019/20 season.

Captain's Runs are often laid-back affairs as the coaching staff take a back seat and allow the senior players to walk through some plays and the goal-kickers use the opportunity to find their bearings in the stadium they will be lining out in the next day.

The press conferences are equally sedate affairs, with captain's and coaches attempting to keep a lid on any pre-game drama.

That was not the case at the Aviva Stadium this morning. Ireland captain Rory Best answered a few questions on Sunday's game against France but he had a surprising update on his future.

"I think it's fairly certain that the World Cup will be the end for me," the 36-year-old Ulster hooker told reporters.

"I think that I feel really good, I don't feel I'm playing any worse, I'm really enjoying rugby and part of that might be because I haven't 100% made the decision.

"But I'm fairly sure it will be, and part of the reason I'm enjoying rugby so much, and I hope playing well, is because there's that weight lifted off."

"When you're playing," Best continued, "you start to get fixated with what's coming, or if you're playing well in this Six Nations you put yourself in the window for the World Cup.

"And if you play well in the World Cup there's two more Six Nations and you're in the window to the Lions tour. And you start to get bogged down with things that don't really matter."

Best, who joked that Ireland coach Joe Schmidt did not want him to play on after he left, said his mind could yet be swayed to stay on playing until the end of next season. He will definitely not play for Ireland again, after the World Cup, but he is contracted up with Ulster until June 2020.

Ulster fans would dearly love to get an opportunity to see Best get a fitting send-off at Ravenhill (Kingspan Stadium) after he wraps up with Ireland.