Ireland captain Rory Best has conceded he is likely to retire following this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The 36-year-old hooker will win his 116th international cap when he leads his country in Sunday’s Six Nations clash with France in Dublin.
Yet that contest is set to be Best’s final Six Nations appearance on home soil, as he expects to end his career following the World Cup that runs from September to November.
“I think it’s fairly certain that the World Cup will be the end for me,” Best said at a news conference following Saturday’s captain’s run.
“I feel really good, I don’t feel I’m playing any worse, I’m really enjoying rugby and part of that might be because I haven’t 100 per cent made the decision.
“But I’m fairly sure it will be [the end]. And I think part of the reason that I’m enjoying rugby so much and playing – well, I hope playing well – is because of that weight lifted off.”
Best feels he is still capable of shining at the World Cup and joked that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, who will leave his position after the tournament, did not want his skipper to carry on without him.
“I am in a really lucky position at the minute that, the way I am feeling, I can go to the World Cup and be at the top of my game,” Best added.
“For me, the way I’m thinking at the minute, that will be a really good time for me [to retire]. Plus Joe said he didn’t want me to keep going without him!”
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