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Rory Best Bids Emotional Farewell To Kingspan Stadium Following Ulster Win

Rory Best Bids Emotional Farewell To Kingspan Stadium Following Ulster Win

He could yet pull on the Ulster jersey on two more occasions, but life on the Kingspan Stadium pitch came to an end for Rory Best this evening. A victory over Connacht ensured he closed the long chapter of his life as an Ulster player on a winning note.

From the moment the Ulster and Irish captain announced his imminent retirement, this day has been etched in his memory and he finally said his goodbyes to Ulster fans tonight in the best possible way - by booking a spot in the semi-finals of the Pro14.

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That semi-final, however, will take place in Glasgow and should Dan McFarland's men overcome Glasgow Warriors they will return to the city once again for the final at Celtic Park.

A second half purple patch for Connacht had the dream result in doubt ever so briefly, but the 36-year-old eventually got a deserved send-off after a 15-year career in the side.

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Visibly emotional after the game, the Ulster and Irish captain spoke to Eir Sport and referred to this evening's game as "symbolic" of his career.

This place is incredibly special. These fans, I suppose since the first day I came up here in the late eighties to today, have been an incredible support to me and my family.

That was probably a game that was symbolic of my career - we had to roll up the sleeves, we had to dig deep and we came up against a very good Connacht side. It's an incredible day for us to win this quarter-final and take another step into the semi-final.

Ulster now have a short break before playing Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium on May 17.

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Aonghus Ó Maicín

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