Rory Best pens new two-year deal with Ulster
Ireland and Ulster hooker Rory Best has signed a new two-year Irish contract that will keep him at Ravenhill until at least June 2016.
The Lions player was one of a number of frontline internationals who is out of contract at the end of the season and follows Irish team-mates Conor Murray and Donnacha Ryan in signing a new deal despite reported interest from abroad.
Best has appeared 143 times for Ulster since making his senior debut for Ulster against Munster in November 2004 won his 70th international appearances for Ireland in the narrow defeat to the All Blacks in the 2013 Guinness Series, where he also got on the scoresheet.
Best was a late call up to the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia in the summer and captained the tourists against the ACT Brumbies.
"I am pleased to have signed for a further two years,” the 31 year-old commented afterwards.
“It is a massive honour to play for Ireland and Ulster. The support that I received when I missed out on the initial Lions squad was a massive factor in me making the decision to stay.
“That made me feel very special and underlined to me that Ulster is more than a team, it is a community and a rugby family. I want to keep playing for Ireland for as long as I can and to try and win a few more things in the green jersey."
Ulster's Director of Rugby David Humphries said he was delighted that the “cornerstone of the Ulster Rugby team” had pledged his future to the province as the IRFU look to continue their contract negotiations with the likes of Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip over the coming weeks and months.