Monday 16 September 2019

'It has been unbelievably special to play for this country' - Emotional Rory Best says farewell to Aviva Stadium

Ireland captain Rory Best reacts after being substituted during the Guinness Summer Series match between Ireland and Wales at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland captain Rory Best reacts after being substituted during the Guinness Summer Series match between Ireland and Wales at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

It was a bittersweet day for Ireland captain Rory Best as he stepped off the field at the Aviva Stadium for the last time.

Best led Ireland to a morale-boosting win over Wales, which saw Joe Schmidt's side claim the world number one ranking for the first time ever. However, it was also the Ireland hooker's final home game in a green jersey, and he was clearly emotional as he reflected on his career after the game.

Speaking to RTÉ, Best said it was a privilege to play for Ireland and paid tribute to the fans and his family for helping him over the year.

"I told myself I wouldn't get emotional but this place has been unbelievably special for me," Best said.

"The support we got today summed up the support we've had throughout my career.

"I'd like to thank the boys, my family and the supporters, everyone here today, everyone at home, everyone who has supported me throughout my career. It has been unbelievably special to play for this country."

Best also looked back on his debut back in 2005, when he came off the bench against the All Blacks to pack down alongside his brother, prop Rory Best.

"It seems a long time ago, I came off the bench and went on in the corner here," Best said.

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"I went into a scrum alongside my brother. Those are the things you remember, the little bits and pieces. The trips to the stadium, the moments after the game when you are looking around the changing room and everyone has given everything for the jersey. These moments are made special by your team and your family."

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