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He stands in a pantheon of legends

Retiring Best will join Kyle, Gibson and McBride among rugby's all-time greats

Big lift: Ulster and Ireland skipper Rory Best, who yesterday announced his proposed retirement, has won many honours in the game including the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018
Big lift: Ulster and Ireland skipper Rory Best, who yesterday announced his proposed retirement, has won many honours in the game including the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018

By Michael Sadlier

Former Ravenhill heroes Gary Longwell and Stephen Ferris say outgoing Rory Best can rightly stand tall alongside Willie John McBride, Mike Gibson and Jack Kyle as a true legend of Ulster and Irish rugby.

Ireland and Ulster skipper Best revealed yesterday that he will completely retire from the professional game after leading Joe Schmidt's team at this autumn's World Cup.

"He will go down as one of the greats of Ulster rugby and you're talking about him along with Jack Kyle, Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson," said Longwell.

Ferris added: "He should be talked about alongside those names (Kyle, McBride and Gibson). They did great things and so did Rory."

An emotional Best admitted: "After giving so much, it's very difficult to say goodbye."

Best (36) is hoping to play again for Ulster after suffering an ankle injury last month with May 4's PRO14 quarter-final against Connacht (kick-off 5.35pm) at Kingspan the target for a home farewell.

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