Rory Best, Ireland’s third-most capped player, ended a glittering rugby career with somewhat of a whimper. Ireland were hammered by New Zealand in their quarterfinal clash at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, losing 46-14 in an error-strewn defeat.
Nonetheless, the 124-cap man received a rousing and sustained ovation from Irish fans after the match.
The Ulsterman finishes his career as Ireland’s third-most capped player and the most capped forward, behind only legendary centre Brian O’Driscoll and fly-half Ronan O’Gara.
The hooker led his team through a tunnel of both sets of players then brought his children onto the pitch to soak up the cheers for the final time.
Asked how he felt, he replied:
“Right now, tired, sore, upset.”
“We have a lot of big characters in that changing room and it’s not often you get a changing room in dead silence. There were big men in tears and that’s what happens when you put your heart and soul into everything,” he said.
“I’m unbelievably upset with the thought that I’ll never put on a green jersey again except to go and support.”
He won the Six Nations with Ireland four times – in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018, twice winning the Grand Slam (2009 and 2018). He also won the Pro12 with Ulster, for whom he turned out over 200 times, in 2005-06.
Below is a short summary of some of Best’s most notable stats.
Rory Best: Ireland and Rugby World Cup career in numbers
Embed code for this graphic.
<iframe src="https://e.infogram.com/69bdd305-87ca-4fd9-ae12-a506981b613d?src=embed" title="Rory Best by the numbers" width="648" height="1083" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none;" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>
Data source: ESPNScrum/World Rugby.
You may republish this article – provided you comply with our Terms and Conditions. Please credit Extra Time Media/the author and add a link back to this article. You are not permitted to republish the cover image.