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Ireland captain Best 'fairly certain' he will retire after this year's World Cup

The 36-year-old will play his final home Six Nations game tomorrow against France.

IRELAND CAPTAIN RORY Best has officially indicated that he is planning to retire from playing rugby after this year’s World Cup.

While the 36-year-old says he hasn’t 100% finalised his decision, he gave the strongest public indication yet that he will hang up his boots after the global tournament in Japan.

Rory Best celebrates winning with his children Ben and Penny Best led Ireland to the Grand Slam last year. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Best, who is set for his final home Six Nations game for Ireland tomorrow against France, will hope to finish in style by leading Ireland to their best-ever World Cup performance. 

“I think it’s fairly certain that the World Cup will be the end for me,” said Best today after Ireland’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium.

“I think that I feel really good, I don’t feel I’m playing any worse, I’m really enjoying rugby. I haven’t 100% made the decision but I’m fairly sure it will be, and part of the reason I’m enjoying rugby so much and I hope playing well is because there’s that weight lifted off.

“When you’re playing, you start to get fixated with what’s coming, or if you’re playing well in this Six Nations, can you put yourself in the window for the World Cup.

“And if you play well in the World Cup there’s two more Six Nations and you’re in the window to the Lions tour, and you start to get bogged down with things that don’t really matter.

“I’m feeling very relaxed now that the body feels that it’s happy to go on and at the minute, mentally, I’m really enjoying the rugby.

“But I’m in a really lucky position at the minute that the way I’m feeling, I can go to the World Cup and be at the top of my game. And for me, the way I’m thinking at the minute, that will be a really good time for me.

“And plus Joe said he didn’t want me to keep going without him!”

Best, who has won 115 caps for Ireland so far, will lead the side out tomorrow at the Aviva Stadium for the final time in the Six Nations.

While the Ulsterman is focused on the collective performance, he admits he has had some thoughts about the occasion.

Ireland's Rory Best celebrates winning the grand slam Best will hope to finish with World Cup glory this year. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I suppose in the early part of my career, I thought that every home game was going to be my last home Six Nations game!” said Best.

“It’s something I haven’t really given a whole lot of thought to, but it has been in the back of my mind that this will be my last home Six Nations game.

“With the World Cup coming up and having aspirations to play there, you hope that my last game for Ireland isn’t going to be until the very start of November.

“Now that we’re upon this, the captain’s run, being out there with the sun shining for the first time this week, it just reminded me how special this championship has been, for me personally, but also to be able to do captain’s runs, play out there, pull on that jersey in the Six Nations.

“It’s been incredibly special for me and it’s very hard to believe that in just over 24 hours, you’ll potentially not get that opportunity again to play in a Six Nations here.

“It’s a little bit sad but you also have to understand how incredibly lucky and special it’s been, and how lucky I’ve been to play for Ireland in so many Six Nations games.

“Whenever the game finishes and I get a little bit of time to reflect on it, it will be [special]. For me and my career, it’s always been about making sure that we do everything we can as a team to make sure we can perform.

“Especially with this group, when we perform, we win games by and large, and I think if I make it into something other than that, I’m not doing a service to how I feel rugby should be played in the team environment, but also my duty as a captain.”

And will there be a swarm of post-match photographs, as when other players have had their last big outing for Ireland in Dublin?

“I don’t think there will be too many kids in the crowd or too many kids who need to see that,” said Best. “It would be like a scene out of Shrek, maybe leave that one off!” 

Andy Dunne joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey to discuss Joe Schmidt’s undroppables and how France might attack Ireland’s predictability in The42 Rugby Weekly.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Murray Kinsella

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