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Best is optimistic about quick return

By Gavin Mairs

Ireland prop Simon Best hopes he will be "back on the pitch fairly soon" as the rehabilitation process begins to determine the cause of the health scare that ruled him out of the World Cup campaign.

The 29-year-old Ulster star saw a cardiac specialist in Dublin yesterday, having arrived back from Bordeaux on Monday night.

The former Ulster and Ireland captain was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat after complaining of a loss of feeling down his right side, a headache and impaired speech last Wednesday.

He has now been put on a course of drugs and will be monitored twice a week over the next month as specialists attempt to get to the root of the problem - and determine whether the popular prop can play again.

"The cardiac specialist has put me on a couple of different drugs and wants to see how I react over the next three weeks," said Best.

"He was fairly optimistic and said a number of things can cause it.

"He is looking to see if it is going to happen again and over the next three to six weeks he will be looking into that. I am due to get tests a couple of times every week and see how it pans out. But he was fairly optimistic."

Best said he was feeling completely normal and even while he was in hospital in Bordeaux he had been transferred from Bordeaux's Pellegrin Hospital to Haut Leveque - one of France's leading cardiological facilities - he hadn't been too discomforted.

And he will be doing everything he can to ensure he can play again.

"I don't know I will play again for sure yet but I am optimistic," said Best. "I'll be treating everything that I do with the hope of being back on the pitch fairly soon.

" I am feeling pretty good. I have felt stable from Saturday when the heart rhythm returned.

"Even before that, despite being aware of a slightly irregular rhythm, I wasn't in any way feeling bad at all, I was really only aware of it from time to time.

"This is something it is going to take a bit of time to get to the bottom of and the next three weeks will hopefully tell a bit of a story. Hopefully it will be good news over the next few weeks.

"I am absolutely confident that the doctors here will give me the best advice and best treatment possible. I am very confident in their arms from right from Gary O'Driscoll with Ireland to David Irwin with Ulster and now David Keane, who will be looking over the whole thing as the cardiologist in Dublin."

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