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Simon Best: 'The doctor told me I wasn't going to play again but I said, 'No, I'm playing on Saturday'

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Simon Best during his playing days for Ulster

Simon Best during his playing days for Ulster

Simon Best during his playing days for Ulster

Just as Simon Best hadn't really foreseen his pathway towards professional rugby, he had also never anticipated it ending with such sudden finality.

It will be 13 years in September since Best, then with the Ireland squad at the World Cup, was taken to hospital in Bordeaux after feeling unwell and struggling to speak when out for a coffee and stroll with team-mate Paddy Wallace.

"I never thought walking into the hospital that day that I wouldn't play that weekend," recalls the 42-year-old of what was diagnosed as an irregular heart rhythm. "We had Argentina that weekend and the doctor told me I wasn't going to play again, and I said, 'No, I'm playing on Saturday'.