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Best foot forward: Ireland captain to lead Ulster into battle this season

“It’s a huge honour to captain my home province again,” Best said.

ULSTER’S DIRECTOR OF rugby Les Kiss has this afternoon confirmed that Rory Best will captain the northern province for the 2017/18 season.

Rory Best with a bloodied nose Best said it is a 'privilege' to captain his home province again. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The hooker, who has made 198 appearances for Ulster, has held the position twice previously and takes over from Rob Herring and Andrew Trimble who shared the duties last season.

Best took over the Ireland captaincy 18 months ago and brings considerable experience to the role having skippered Joe Schmidt’s side to the historic victory over New Zealand as well as a first Test win on South African soil.

The 35-year-old also led the Lions’ midweek side during this summer’s tour of New Zealand having done the same during the 2013 tour to Australia.

“It’s a huge honour to captain my home province again,” Best said. “To play for Ulster fills me with immense pride and that feeling is amplified when I lead the team out.

“I’ll be in the privileged position of having an experienced group of players supporting me, all of whom have represented Ulster for a number of years and are superb leaders in their own right.

“We’re committed to working hard each week to improve every aspect of our game and hopefully this will increase our chances of success.”

Commenting on the appointment, Kiss said that Chris Henry would captain Ulster in the first game of the Pro14 season against the Cheetahs on Friday in Best’s absence.

“Rory is an exceptional ambassador for Ulster Rugby both on and off the pitch. To have achieved what he has in the game is testament to his qualities as a player and a person.

“It’s brilliant for us to be in a position to call upon someone with his experience and proven leadership ability. He has recent experience of captaining Ireland and the Lions in massive games and that has further enhanced his leadership qualities, meaning he’s better equipped than ever before to lead us.

“We have a structure in place that will enable us to call upon strong leaders throughout the season, regardless of injuries and international call-ups. I’m looking forward to working with Rory and the other senior players to create a culture that challenges us to improve week by week.”

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