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Grand Slam captain Rory Best signs new Ireland contract

Rory Best has signed a new contract with the IRFU until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Best, who took over the Ireland captaincy ahead of the 2016 Six Nations Championship, is Ireland’s third most capped player with 111 caps.

"I am in a very privileged position as captain of Ireland and Ulster to be involved with two groups of incredibly talented players," he said. "I feel I can continue to make a contribution to both Ireland and Ulster Rugby and am delighted to have extended my IRFU contract to the next World Cup.  

"Support of family, friends and supporters is a hugely important element for any professional sportsperson and I would like to thank everyone for their support but specifically my wife Jodie who has been incredible and has ensured that as a family we have been able to share in all the great memories of the last few years.”

Rob Kearney has also extended his IRFU contract until after the World Cup, which takes place in Japan from September 20 to November 2 2019.

Under Best's stewardship Ireland recorded their first win over the Springboks on South African soil as well as securing a first ever victory over New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016.

At the weekend, Best won a fourth Six Nations title and second Grand Slam title having played in the successful 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018 campaigns. 

He made his international debut against New Zealand in 2005 and has scored nine international tries and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and 2017.

Brought up through the ranks of Banbridge RFC, Best made his senior debut for Ulster against Munster in November 2004.

Best has represented his province 204 times, scoring 21 tries. The hooker was reappointed Ulster captain at the beginning of this season, having first held the honour from 2007 to 2011.

IRFU, Performance Director, David Nucifora, said: “Rory has been an outstanding leader for Ireland and continues to produce stand-out performances at the highest level of the game.  He is an important member of the Ireland leadership group and we are delighted that he will continue to play a central role in Irish Rugby."

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