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Watch: Ulster captain Rory Best receives OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace

By Gareth Hanna

Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has been presented with his OBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

The Banbridge man was awarded the accolade in the Queen's Birthday Honours, announced in June last year, for services to rugby.

He took a break from international duty to travel to London, where he was on Wednesday morning called before a smiling Prince of Wales and exchanged a few words after the medal was pinned to his jacket lapel.

The veteran hooker was joined at the palace by his parents, who have both been decorated with MBEs, his father John honoured for services to agriculture and mother Patricia for services to the public sector.

He said: "I suppose they can't really believe it. When I first told my family they were shocked but absolutely delighted - it means a lot to our family, especially with mum and dad having received MBEs. It's a lovely family celebration.

"You play rugby because you love it and then all of a sudden you get these awards, but I think of all the individual awards I've received in my career this is certainly the highest."

Speaking after the honour had been announced last year, Best dedicated his OBE to the hundreds of people he believes have helped him carve out such a distinguished international rugby career.

The Ireland skipper also laughed about going one-up on his parents in terms of their royal honours.

"It was quite funny telling them I'd gone one better than them," he said.

"I'll always refer back to Banbridge Rugby Club and that's where it all started for me, but there are so many people to thank for their help along the way that I couldn't even begin to name them.

"And it always comes back to mum, dad, my brothers and sisters, and my wife and children.

"It's not just a reflection of my rugby ability. There are better players than me, but it's also hopefully a reflection of the person you are. It would be humbling to think that you can be considered more than just being able to play rugby."

The presentation continues what has been a good week for Best, who is still fresh from celebrating his second victory over the All Blacks as Ireland captain.

The Irish had never before beaten New Zealand but, under Best's captaincy, have now managed to complete the feat twice in little over two years.

First came the 40-29 success in Chicago on November 5, 2016, but the celebrations were multiplied on Saturday when Best led his side to their first victory over the All Blacks on home soil, a 16-9 win at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

It's the latest highlight in what has become an iconic career. Best has also helped Ireland to four Six Nations crowns, including two Grand Slams.

He helped Ulster to the Pro14 title in 2006 and captained the British and Irish Lions during last year's tour of New Zealand.

Best has so far made 212 appearances for Ulster and has 113 caps for Ireland.

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