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Best to regain Ulster captaincy

By Gavin Mairs

Just over six months after sustaining a horrific broken leg in Ulster's Celtic League draw against Llanelli, Simon Best will make his long-waited return as team captain for Saturday's mouth-watering clash against Leinster at Ravenhill.

Best, who cruelly missed captaining the side in their hour of glory last season as the Celtic League title victory was clinched at the Ospreys the week after he suffered his injury, will assume the leadership role from Justin Harrison.

Harrison has been a superb leader in Best's absence and indeed retained the captain's duties on Best's first for Ulster, the Magners League clash against the Borders earlier this month.

The 28-year-old had previously returned to action with cameos off the bench in the Heineken Cup games against Toulouse and Llanelli in October.

But having recently captained Ireland A against Australia, Best showed he was back at full tilt by winning his 13th Test cap off the bench in the victory over the Pacific Islands last Sunday.

And Ulster coach Mark McCall will have no hesitation in restoring him as captain when he announces his side to face Leinster tomorrow lunch time.

"For the Borders game, we thought it was the wrong thing to do (to make him captain) because Simon was about to go away for three weeks (with Ireland), it was his first full game back and we wanted him to concentrate solely on his game," said McCall.

"Googy (Justin Harrison) and Humph (David Humphreys) will continue to have a major influence but Simon captained the Ireland A team and did a really, really good job from all the reports that I got and he's taken over this weekend.

"It has been a brilliant autumn for Simon given where he was."

Rugby Special: See page 34

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