Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has confirmed he is to officially retire from professional rugby.
Best is to bow out after spending 14 seasons at the top level, amassing 116 international caps and 219 appearances for Ulster.
The rugby legend, who was awarded an OBE for his services to the sport in 2017, will bow out when his current contract expires after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
As he is currently out with an injury, the announcement means Best has potentially already played his last game for Ulster.
Best said he had "mixed feelings" about the decision and hopes to finish his career on a high.
“This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged," he said.
“I am very excited for the end of the season with Ulster Rugby and for the upcoming World Cup with Ireland, both of which I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game.
“In my 15 years at this brilliant club, I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people, and I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me since 2004.
“I grew up supporting Ulster Rugby, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster Rugby, and now look forward to supporting Ulster Rugby in the future with my family.”
Ulster Rugby's Operations Director Bryn Cunningham said no player at the club had a more "profound impact" on the sport than Best.
“When Rory enters the room, everyone waits for his words. On the training pitch, he demands high standards at all times," he said.
"During a match, players turn to Rory for leadership and direction. He has been our all-encompassing talismanic figure for more than a decade."