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Telling son Ben (8) was tough: Rory

Proud dad: Rory Best with his son Richie yesterday
Proud dad: Rory Best with his son Richie yesterday
Happy family: Rory Best with his wife Jodie and children (from left) Penny, Ben and Richie after Ireland match at Aviva in 2016

By Cian Tracey

Ireland captain Rory Best says his children will find it hardest not to be able to walk onto the hallowed turf with him following retirement.

The Ulster hooker announced yesterday that he will hang up his boots after the World Cup, retiring from both international and provincial rugby.

Best (36) revealed that it will be hard for his children as his eldest son Ben, in particular, can understand what his father is achieving on the world stage.

Ben thought his dad would play on the 2021 Lions tour in South Africa, Best says.

"So I had to sit him down and tell him, 'You're at the age now to know: Daddy is not going to play on forever', and he went, 'Why not?'

"And I went, 'There will come a point when I will become too old and either my body will let me down or my performances will let me down'.

"I knew he was looking at me thinking, 'Yeah right, wise up'.

"He doesn't want it to happen but we have been sort of prepping him for two years now so he kinda knows that unfortunately it happens and you get on with it.

"The big shock for him will be whenever it happens because I think he thinks in his head that a lot of the stuff that we do now, we will still be able to do - things like going onto the pitch at the Kingspan.

"I don't think they are going to let some punter from the stand walk on with his kid! Those will be the little bits, whenever I take him to a game and he goes, 'Can we not go onto the pitch or into the changing room?'

"I will have to tell him, 'No. I am not part of it anymore'. That's when the realisation will really hit home."

Best is married to his teenage sweetheart Jodie and they have three children together - Ben (eight), Penny (six) and three-year-old Richie.

"This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged," says Best.

"I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game."

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