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Dan Sheridan/INPHO Best lifts the Six Nations trophy during Saturday's celebrations at Twickenham.
# Captain Fantastic
Grand Slam-winning captain Rory Best signs new IRFU contract
The hooker has extended his deal until the end of the 2019 World Cup.

RORY BEST, WHO last weekend became just the third player to captain Ireland to a Grand Slam, has extended his contract with the IRFU until the end of the 2019 World Cup.

The Ulster hooker was out of contract at the end of this season but has agreed a new deal which will see him continue to play a key role in Joe Schmidt’s side over the next 18 months.

Now one of the most successful captains in Irish rugby history, Best became just the second player, along with Rob Kearney, to win two Grand Slam titles.

Under the 35-year-old’s stewardship, Ireland have recorded a first win over the Springboks on South African soil, defeated the All Blacks in Chicago and, on Saturday, augmented a third Six Nations crown in five years with a clean sweep of wins.

“I am in a very privileged position as captain of Ireland and Ulster to be involved with two groups of incredibly talented players,” Best said.

“I feel I can continue to make a contribution to both Ireland and Ulster Rugby and am delighted to have extended my IRFU contract to the next World Cup.

“Support of family, friends and supporters is a hugely important element for any professional sportsperson and I would like to thank everyone for their support, but specifically my wife Jodie who has been incredible and has ensured that as a family we have been able to share in all the great memories of the last few years.”

Rory Best Bryan Keane / INPHO Best has made 111 appearances for Ireland. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Best made his international debut against New Zealand in 2005 and as well as representing his country 111 times, has toured with the Lions in 2013 and 2017 and has made 204 appearances for Ulster.

“Rory has been an outstanding leader for Ireland and continues to produce stand-out performances at the highest level of the game,” IRFU performance director, David Nucifora, commented.

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“He is an important member of the Ireland leadership group and we are delighted that he will continue to play a central role in Irish Rugby.”

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