Rory Best has confirmed that he will retire from professional rugby after this year's World Cup.
"It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby as of the end of this season," said the Ireland captain.
"This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged.
"I am very excited for the end of the season with Ulster Rugby and for the upcoming World Cup with Ireland, both of which I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game.
"In my 15 years at this brilliant club, I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people, and I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me since 2004.
"I grew up supporting Ulster Rugby, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster Rugby, and now look forward to supporting Ulster Rugby in the future with my family."
It was already known that Best's Ireland career was likely to end following this year's tournament. However, as recently as the week following Ulster's Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster, Best was undecided as to whether or not he would play another season for the province.
Best made his senior competitive debut for Ulster in 2004 and to date has made 219 appearances for the side. He is also Ulster's most-capped Ireland international with 116 test appearances.
Picture credit: Sportsfile